“Private taxis eat into our business, reduced rental rate doesn’t make a difference to us”: Al Million drivers
Drivers of Al Million taxi services who had stayed away from work protesting the high rental fees they pay the employer have now returned to work, with a QR15 reduction in the daily rental.
However, this does not alleviate their problem by much, says Joseph*, a Kenyan driver told JustHere. On top of the QR235 (earlier QR250 for 12 hours) and QR285 (earlier QR300 for 24 hours), they also have to pay for fuel, he says. The salaried drivers on the other hand, do not have to pay for fuel.
Joseph is one of the many drivers who spoke to JustHere in November last, complaining about the poor financial and physical conditions in which they work, and on the unkept recruitment promises from their home countries.
Speaking to JustHere after rejoining work, he and his colleagues said they’ve been asked to wait for three months by the employer for a second review.
“Earlier we could manage paying these rentals, and making some money on top of it. But now there are so many ‘private’ taxis on the road that they eat into our business. No one seems to keep a check on these taxis, that are actually illegal,” Joseph said.
As for the living conditions, while the Kenyan drivers were moved to a slightly better accommodation after a representative from the Kenya recruitment agency intervened, others continue to live in poor conditions. A driver from Bangladesh says, “We are cooped up like chicken. One thousand in a camp with only 30 bathrooms. And we hardly make any money… what is a QR15 reduction?”
Neither Al Million nor Mowasalat have responded to our queries. However, Joby Mathew, Human Resources Manager at Al Million told The Peninsula that, “It’s too early to know if all have agreed to the new rental system. We would know only when operations return to normal on Wednesday (today).”