Didi drivers in China protest pay cuts and restrictive work practices
Hundreds of Didi drivers in the central city of Shaodong, Hunan, went on strike on 4 June in protest at a policy change that made it more difficult for them to claim their bonus payments. Videos posted online showed a long line of cars with drivers staging a protest on the side of the road.
The drivers said that losing their bonus at time when fuel prices were going up would impose a heavy financial burden on them. They posted a list of ten demands and grievances online including claims that: Didi had been withholding the compensation paid to drivers when their orders were cancelled, drivers were forced to accept orders starting more than 1.5 kilometres away, and that the company charged unreasonably high commissions.
Drivers stayed on strike for six days, which coincided with the National College Entrance Examination. Drivers posted statements asking for support and understanding and apologizing for any inconvenience caused.
Nearly one hundred Didi drivers gathered in front of the company office in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, on 8 June protesting its new “guarantee scheme.” The scheme, rolled out in April, claimed to provide drivers with a stable income but required them to work at least ten hours a day.
Didi then gradually reduced the orders for those drivers who refused to join the new scheme, sparking anger among drivers who wanted to maintain a more flexible work schedule. One driver said his income had fallen by 5,000 yuan as a result of the new system. After expenses, he said, he was left with just a few thousand yuan a month. Even drivers with a high customer rating found that they could not get orders without joining the new scheme.
When company representatives did not respond to their complaints, a group of drivers elected their own representatives and marched into the company office to demand negotiations. The company finally gave in and held talks with the drivers.