Uber drivers end strike after agreement with vehicle financier Moove

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A group of Uber drivers went on strike this week.
A group of Uber drivers went on strike this week.
Ditiro Selepe/News24
  • Vehicle-financier Moove said on Friday a strike by Uber drivers has come to an end.
  • The company said it had never cancelled its drive-to-own contracts with drivers.
  • It said there had been a misunderstanding because of the wording of its contract, which has been rectified.
  • For more financial news, go to the News24 Business front page.

Moove, the Nigerian-founded flexible-car-ownership company at the centre of a dispute that saw Uber drivers down keys this week in Johannesburg, said on Friday the strike had come to an end.

Responding to questions sent to it, Moove said it and its "customers have agreed on a way forward" and the drivers have resumed working.

About 100 drivers at Uber embarked on a strike on Wednesday that culminated in a protest on Thursday outside the adjacent offices of Uber and Moove in Kramerville, Sandton where tyres were burnt.

Drivers had told News24 they were unhappy about being forced to sign a new contract with Moove. The drivers connect with passengers via Uber's e-hailing platform, but lease vehicles from Moove.

They said they had been ordered to sign new contracts which no longer contain a drive-to-own (DTO) agreement.

READ | Uber strike: Drivers say they fear they'll lose their cars in spat with third party

But Moove said on Friday the "drive-to-own [DTO] agreement is still in full effect and was never cancelled".

"All Moove customers remain on the DTO contract with no risk of cancellation."

It maintained that the contract was merely updated to include "essential regulatory requirements relating" to the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) and that there has been a misunderstanding because of the language used.

Committed to drive-to-own agreements

Moove said the language of the contract was being rectified and that there was never any intention "on our part to cancel the DTO".

"Moove is committed to all DTO agreements, and our customers' interests are protected."

According to Moove's website it is a Nigerian-founded global startup founded by Ladi Delano and Jide Odunsi in 2020. The company said on Friday it was backed by global investors and headquartered in the Netherlands. The company operates in 13 cities, in SA, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, India and the UK.

Jabulani Ngcobo, who had participated in the strike action this week, confirmed on Friday that the strike was at an end, saying he was back on the road and transporting customers.

"It has come to an end on condition they rectify their mistakes they [Moove] have admitted to have made in this contract."

"The contract cannot state at the top ... that the DTO is being terminated, but [then] verbally you tell me it hasn't been," said Ngcobo, who pays Moove R2 300 a week to lease a car as part as the DTO scheme.

He said they understood the wording and some of the terminology in the new contract would now be rectified.

"We are all working and the team that is representing us are going to call us after they have ironed out their mistakes."

Ngcobo had told News24 on Thursday how contracts had been changed from "being a drive-to-own driver to merely being a fleet driver". 

"If you insist you cannot sign this contract because of this termination of DTO and you walk away from them, they keep on calling you and eventually they disconnect the car from the Uber app. Then you have to come in to see them [Moove] at their offices, where you are forced to sign this new contract, irrespective of how it is written, and if you don't sign, they take the car."

Also on Thursday, when Uber South Africa confirmed it was aware of the concerns of the drivers, it said that while it may facilitate an introduction between drivers and Moove, the contractual relationships at issue were between the drivers and that company.

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