Drivers who use taxi-hailing apps have been dealt a blow in their push for better pay by the dominant companies.
Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani and Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) Director General Wang’ombe Kariuki yesterday said the State did not have mandate to set prices for the firms.
“These are not transport companies. They do not own or operate any vehicles. What is there is a private contractual agreement between the owners of the cars and drivers. It has nothing to do with the apps,” said Mr Yatani.
The CS, who was appearing before the Senate Labour and Social Welfare Committee that is investigating drivers' complaints about poor pay, said he believed the vehicle owners received enough money but it was unclear if they paid their drivers well.
Mr Kariuki said their hands were tied because the issue was not about competition.
He noted that none of the app companies controls more than 50 per cent of the market hence it was unlikely that the car owners were being exploited.
But committee chair Johnson Sakaja said the State must play a role in protecting Kenyans against unfair labour practices.
“There is an appearance of collusion here to exploit the drivers? You are telling us that you are not protecting the drivers. I believe there is space for CAK to come in,” said Sakaja.
Taxi drivers using the cab-hailing app have downed tools at least three times since 2016 over the low rates imposed by the companies.