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Taxi drivers voice frustration at rule which cuts their income

40 quit as they seek government help at second protest in two days

Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
More than 1,000 taxi drivers gathered outside the Ministry of Labour in Sharjah at a decision which reduces their income.
Gulf News

Sharjah: More than 1,000 taxi drivers protested Tuesday morning outside the Ministry of Labour in Sharjah against the decision to reduce their income.

The protest was the second in two days, and was by taxi drivers employed at City Taxi and Emirates Taxi.

"We want help from the government because the companies cannot help us," said a taxi driver from Emirates Taxi.

"We do not want to work under these conditions. We have to pay for our own medical check-up, traffic fines, and uniforms. And I am always worried about when I will get my next passenger."

"They are deducting our income without any [justified] cause. I used to get almost Dh2,700 at the end of the month but with the new rule I barely get Dh1,000," said another taxi driver.

The taxi drivers gathered outside the Ministry of Labour, and parked their taxis on the other side of the road. They were soon instructed by traffic police and ministry officials to disperse.

A ministry officials at the scene refused to comment.

Forty taxi drivers from Union Taxi later yesterday resigned in protest at the new conditions in their contract, according to an official at Union Taxi who declined to be named. The management at Emirates Taxi and City Taxi could not be reached.

The spokesperson for Sharjah Transport said protests began after it was announced that taxi drivers must pay their company 52 fils for every kilometre.

Abu Dhabi: lower pay in new deal

Taxi driver protests were not confined to Sharjah Tuesday. More than 500 drivers from the Cars Taxi company in Mussaffah in Abu Dhabi protested Tuesday morning saying their employer forced them to sign new job contracts with reduced commission rates, even though most of their contracts were still valid. "We have to move our accommodation to workers' cities in Mussaffah and Dh700 will be cut for that," the drivers alleged. Gulam Al Beloushi, the CEO of Cars Taxi company told Gulf News that drivers' existing contracts were unlimited but the company had to implement new unified contracts introduced by the Ministry of Labour and TransAD, the taxi regulatory authority in Abu Dhabi.

Al Beloushi said drivers would receive a free flight home every two years.

— With inputs from Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter