At least 1,700 Meru Cab drivers continued with their strike on Thursday. Three cabs attempting to provide service to customers were vandalised.
On Wednesday, a section of drivers resorted to violence demanding that 21 of their colleagues be reinstated. The administration had terminated their contracts for their involvement in violence during the past agitations. The management refused to entertain this demand.
Rajesh Puri, CEO of Meru Cabs, which runs Mumbai's largest fleet cab service, said: "We have spoken to all the 2,000 drivers and 1,349 of them have shown their readiness to work. However, they are afraid of being attacked. The administration is ready to talk to their union, but we have to maintain some discipline."
Swabhiman Sanghatna, led by industries minister Narayan Rane's son Nitesh, which is heading the section of the drivers, is adamant. "The drivers will remain on strike till the company absorbs the terminated drivers without any conditions," said KK Tiwari, president, taxi-auto wing of the organisation.
Cab drivers, however, aren't very happy. "Diwali is just around the corner and we have no money to celebrate. We want the dispute to be resolved. We are suffering losses of Rs700 every day," said a Meru driver.
The government doesn't want to get involved in the dispute due to the political involvement in the issue. "We have no policy to regulate unions of fleet services. We can take action against auto and taxi drivers," said a higher road transport authority official.
Commuters looking for fleet taxi services were left stranded at the domestic and international airports.
Mrudul Shah, a Vikhroli resident, said, "I had called for another fleet cab service to go to the domestic airport, but they said it would take two hours for the taxi to arrive. I finally took an auto."