Al Million cabbies strike work; demand salary and dropping of rental system
Since Saturday, several Al Million cabs have been off the roads with cabbies citing disputes over the terms of payment with their employer. Although some of them returned to work on Sunday, they cite the current system of rentals to be the main reason for their dissatisfaction and were demanding a reduction in the rental fee.
As per this rental system, drivers are required to pay QR235 as a rental fee to the company for 12 hours everyday, regardless of how much they actually earn. Drivers with full-day rentals are required to pay QR300. In addition, all of them are also required to pay for the fuel themselves. These fees leave them with a meager disposable income, if they manage to save anything at all. They end up spending from their pockets for accidents even though all vehicles are insured and are even fined for taking days off.
Al Million, a franchise of the state-owned Mowasalat, operates around 650 cabs and employs around 1000 drivers. This is not the first instance of Al Million drivers complaining about the rental fee charged by the company. Nor is it their only grouse.
Many cab drivers are promised a great deal, including a significantly higher pay and a luxurious lifestyle, by recruitment agencies in their home countries to entice them into employment. However, when they actually move to Qatar to begin their jobs, they realize that the real picture including living and employment terms and conditions is much less rosy than what they were promised. Many Al Million cab drivers do not receive copies of their contracts and are underpaid severely in Doha. Their accommodation spaces are often below the acceptable hygiene conditions, even squalid.
The Peninsula reports a senior official of Al Million mentioning that the company’s management had no news about such a strike. He cited that the continuous rains and that drivers’ preference for taking Saturdays and Sundays off were primarily why the taxis were missing from the roads on these days.
Cab drivers say that the company’s management has not responded with a solution yet.
Photo Courtesy: Lawrence Wang on Flickr