Uber driver-partners will start to receive perks in the form of fuel rebates and cellphone deals‚ which will help reduce their operating costs.

The ride-hailing app said in a statement that it aimed to provide driver-partners access to a wide variety of partner discounts and deals. These sweeteners come in the wake of Uber driver-partners becoming increasingly vocal about their need to be protected by labour laws‚ and voicing concerns about their personal security.

In July‚ a group of Uber drivers took the company to the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)‚ demanding that they be seen as legal employees‚ after their profiles were deleted from the app without explanation. The CCMA found in their favour.

Attacks by metered taxi drivers and passengers‚ including robberies and hijackings‚ on Uber drivers have prompted the founding of the Uber Drivers Movement‚ with more than 700 members.

The rewards offered by the company include loyalty points at Shell garages‚ where driver-partners can swipe their reward cards at participating service stations and earn points to save on fuel. Uber said it was working with mobile network provider Cell C to offer driver-partners mobile phone plans. This was because drivers’ cellphones were the primarily platform from which they run their businesses.

Other benefits include car maintenance support and health insurance.

"Uber has negotiated some preferential deals for driver-partners to make sure their vehicles are in tip top shape. Tiger Wheel & Tyre offers preferential discounts to driver-partners operating on the Uber app as well as a 30% discount on all service-related products‚" the statement read.

"Uber has teamed up with MyHealth to help driver-partners find the best health insurance plan for them and their families. MyHealth provides comprehensive‚ private primary healthcare‚ offering drivers a host of extended benefits for only R73 a week‚" read the statement.

Said Alon Lits‚ GM for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa: "We listened closely to thousands of driver-partners across the nation and from their feedback we were able to identify the benefits they most want access to‚ and so Uber Rewards was developed."

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