News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday September 15th 2019

Taxi drivers demand slice of taxi bosses compensation

Taxi driver are demanding a slice of the MyCiTi pie handed to their employers, the taxi owners. Photo: Peter Luhanga/WCN


As the City completely phases out existing public transport providers in the MyCiTi west coast and CBD routes, over 100 taxi drivers in Atlantis are demanding compensation from the City despite being promised jobs as bus drivers.

This follows the City’s announcement on October 10 that the signing of the 12-year MyCiTi bus vehicle operator contracts last month signals the phasing out of existing taxi’s and bus services along the extended route from Bayside to Atlantis will be phased out completely in the next two months.

But while taxi owners signed the 12-year agreement, their employees, the taxi drivers, are unhappy.

120 Taxi drivers from the Atlantis-based Blaauwberg Taxi Association (BTA) sent an email to the City on Tuesday informing them of their intention to protest on Thursday.

The City is paying out compensation to affected taxi owners who have agreed to surrender their taxi operating permits and vehicles, while taxi drivers, gatjies and taxi washers have been promised job opportunities in the MyCiTi bus service.

However, the taxi drivers are demanding a cut from the compensation the City is paying out taxi bosses.

But the taxi bosses have refused drivers demands, saying they negotiated with the City on their own behalf and the drivers should to negotiate compensation with the City, said BTA taxi driver Frank Van Wyk, who have been driving taxis for over 20 years.

Van Wyk, who is 66-years-old, said they want to force the City to come to the table and discuss “what sort of compensation is there for us taxi drivers”.

“Taxi’s are being phased out without any form of compensation for taxi drivers and there is no guarantee for work for all of us,” said Van Wyk.

He said attempts to get a cut from taxi owners had been fruitless.

He said they felt that the City should have arranged with taxi bosses to pay out compensation to drivers, especially those who are elderly and won’t get jobs as MyCiTi bus drivers.

“Many of us we are 60 plus years now. Where are we going to find other jobs? The City says it’s going to give us jobs but we are old now and there is no guarantee for jobs.”

Provincial chair of the South African Transport Workers Union (SATAWU), Fred November, said they were assisting the taxi drivers in their bid for compensation as some of them had worked as drivers for over 30-years.

November said the City’s transition process flawed as not everybody in the taxi industry was involved.

He said taxi drivers who for over three decades had worked on a 30% commission should get a 30% cut from their employers’ compensation.

It was believed the City was paying out approximately R900 000 per taxi taken off the road, however West Cape News was unable to verify this amount with the City.

Taxi boss and BTA chair Christy Prins, who is also director of bus operations at MyCiTi bus Vehicle Operating Company Kidrogen, said taxi drivers were complaining that they were never consulted in the negotiating process, “which is a lie”.

Prins said the taxi drivers should rather open discussions with taxi bosses in regard to labour law guidelines.

Labour law specialist Michael Bagraim said the City was not violating any labour laws as it had promised to employ the taxi drivers and recognize their previous work service terms and conditions.

Bagraim said if some taxi drivers, gatjies and taxi washers did not get jobs in the MyCiTi bus service they should look at their employer, the taxi owner, and have to be retrenched properly.

“The taxi bosses cannot avoid their obligations in terms of the laws. The taxi drivers can challenge the taxi bosses at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA),” said Bagraim.

The City hadn’t responded to questions at the time of finalising this article. –Peter Luhanga

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