Abu Dhabi taxi drivers urge fair deal on contracts

Taxi drivers say their complaints about working conditions are still being ignored.
Taxis line up outside Abu Dhabi Mall on Saturday. Many drivers are unhappy that their demands about employment contracts are not being honoured by all of the taxi firms. Delores Johnson / The National
Taxis line up outside Abu Dhabi Mall on Saturday. Many drivers are unhappy that their demands about employment contracts are not being honoured by all of the taxi firms. Delores Johnson / The National

ABU DHABI // Many taxi drivers say their complaints about working conditions are still ­being ignored.

They have demanded that all drivers in Abu Dhabi are given the benefits they said they were promised in their contracts.

R C, a driver for Al Ghazal, said: “All office staff from my company enjoy all official holidays like Eid Al Fitr, Eid Al Adha, National Day and New Year, and a weekly day off, but [us drivers] don’t get a day off in a year.

“So we demand this discrimination must stop,” he said.

He said his labour contract stipulated a day off a week, a month’s paid annual leave, an air ticket home and sick leave, which he claimed had not been fulfilled.

He said he was planning to resign and other colleagues had considered going on strike.

S P, a driver with Al Arabia Taxis, said: “I don’t demand anything extra, we just want whatever is legitimate and mentioned in our labour contract.

“In the last two years, I didn’t get a day off. Forget about Fridays and Saturdays,” he said.

He said all drivers should be given standardised targets and commissions, holidays, sick pay and time off by the different taxi companies.

There are six companies that taxi operator TransAD has ­licensed to run cabs in Abu Dhabi. All six have different commissions and earning targets.

But drivers for Emirates Taxi said they were happy because their conditions had been met.

T M, who drives an Emirates taxi, said this came about after threats of strike action.

He said: “My company accepted our demands and now it has started giving us one day off a week, which we never dreamt of.

“We also get an annual return air ticket and also get sick leave if we fall ill.”

His company also agreed to give a month’s annual leave.

“Now we have a reasonable target of Dh425 a day and can claim 30 per cent of it,” he said.

TransAD, the taxi regulatory authority in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Taxi and National Taxi did not respond to requests for comments. Nobody was available at Al Ghazal and Cars Taxi.

anwar@thenational.ae

Published: September 19, 2016 04:00 AM

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