x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Fixed commissions for cabbies made official after protests

After a three-month delay, taxi drivers are to be given new contracts this week that will base their salaries on a fixed commission.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // Taxi drivers will this week be given new contracts that will base their salaries on a fixed commission. The agreement comes after a three-month delay. It would validate a 25 per cent commission introduced last June, the RAK Transport Authority (Rakta) said. That came after talks between drivers and the emirate's three taxi firms, prompted by drivers' protests. Rakta, which mediated in the negotiations, said the delay was caused by the companies' reluctance to put the fixed commission scale in place permanently.

Most drivers earn between Dh1,000 (US$272) and Dh2,000 a month under the new guideline, higher than what, on average, they were previously paid. The previous sliding scale commission plan ranged between 10 per cent and 30 per cent, and guaranteed drivers a salary of Dh500 a month. The new contract does not offer a base salary. Jason Farhat, Ratka's director of commercial and investment affairs, said: "We are trying to make it clear for both parties what their responsibilities are."

Fares have been slightly increased to help companies offset increased wage costs. Drivers say they are still working long hours just to cover expenses. The companies - Al Hamra Taxi, Cars Taxi and Al Arabiya Taxi - declined to comment. azacharias@thenational.ae