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Two hundred more Sharjah cabbies stop work

Ahmed Shaaban / 10 November 2010

Although several Sharjah cabbies have returned to work, over 200 drivers of Advantage Taxi stopped work on Tuesday over a new rule of deduction from metered charges.

With these, the estimated number of striking cabbies from four franchise companies operating in the emirate has reached 1,000.

Taxi drivers are opposing the deduction of 52 fils for every kilometre when the meter is running.

They are also upset with their daily target, which should not be below Dh333. Failing to meet the target will attract suspension or termination from service.

On November 2, over 2,000 cabbies from all franchise companies staged a protest before the Ministry of Labour office in Yarmook area against the new deduction rule which both Sharjah Transport and franchise firms justified and attributed to hiked petrol prices and operation expenses.

Some cabbies told Khaleej Times on Tuesday that they had expected their companies to revoke the deduction rule after the strike, but in vain. “They just do not care, and force cabbies to sign an approval of the new rule before giving back their cabs.”

“The Dh500,000 to Dh75,000 which most companies used to collect on a daily basis have come down to only Dh10,000 due to the strike,” said a driver.

Some other drivers said they returned to work last week to collect their salaries, and were ready for the face-off. “We did not give up; we resumed work to get our salary to pay the endless, accumulating and unreasonable fines which are doubled by some franchise companies. I want my salary to last during litigation in court which normally takes around six months,” said a cabbie. “Though I collected more than Dh400, I am still ineligible for the 35 per cent commission, which I used to get before the cut rule against only Dh333,” said another driver, adding that the company deducted around Dh100 from his daily revenue which means his day’s collection was only around Dh300 that would not get him the best commission.

Another driver said more and more cabbies would collectively submit resignation papers today and tomorrow  after collecting their salaries.

“Union Taxi has already sacked 75 cabbies, and other companies will do the same to deter others from striking work,” he added.

Meanwhile, some of the protesting cabbies went to the labour office in Yarmook area on Tuesday to submit their resignation letters, claim their gratuity and get copies of their contracts of employments. “Our companies refused to give us copies of our contracts which we want to submit along with our resignation letters and get our end-of-service benefits,” a driver said.

One driver said he would not be able to get his gratuity amounting to Dh30,000 unless he filed a complaint at the Labour Ministry.

“As per our contracts of employment, we are entitled to a monthly salary of Dh300. Once a complaint is filed, we can collect the amount only after a final settlement,” he said.

Sharjah Transport in a statement affirmed that drivers are entitled to approach the Labour Office to submit the resignation and collect their end-of-service benefits.

“However, they should abide by the terms and conditions stipulated in their contract of employment,” it added.

ahmedshaaban@khaleejtimes.com

 
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