Taxi drivers strike, why?

Taxi drivers launched an open strike on 21 September 2022 to protest against the failure to revise fares, fuel price increases and crackdowns on the use of mobility applications. Taxi drivers have called for massive mobilization and demonstrations on several major roads and roads. The Secretary General of the Tunisian Union of Individual Taxis, Faouzi Khabouchiwould even have required taxi drivers who were not present during the demonstrations to provide a written justification. He This is Dignity Strike! From the strike of free taxi drivers joined the Tunisian Union of Individual Taxi! Those who do not strike agree to be slaves! », he added.

Taxi drivers demand, above all, a revision of the rates. They call for a review of the pricing network and the prices that the state has set for years. HAVE every increase in fuel prices they threaten to go on strike and provoke the countless increases in tax pressure and the deterioration of their purchasing power. Taxi drivers estimate that the 540 million aid shown on the meter should rise to one dinar. They also ask to have absolute freedom to use mobility applications. These had caused great controversy during the summer, as the rates had been significantly increased without warning or explanation. Internet users have mobilized to condemn the exploitation of the consumerunited. They discussed the attitude of taxi drivers since the introduction of these applications. In addition, the Minister of Transport had assessed that the mobility applications acted outside the legislation and did not comply with the applicable rules with regard to pricing. The Director of Land Transport in the Ministry of Transport, Nizar Ben Mohamed, in a statement given in July 2022 to Mosaïque Fm radio, called on citizens to condemn taxi drivers who refused to take customers with the excuse that they are not on their way. It is necessary for the customer to terminate the driver at that time by raising the plate and by filing a complaint with the ministry. An investigation will then be initiated. “, he said.

Taxi drivers are also on strike to demand more involvement from the state. They believe that the government should investigate the possibility of setting up a subsidy system. The Tunisian Union of Individual Taxis has called on the government to make it easier for taxi drivers to acquire vehicles. The union asked for a reduction in prices through the establishment of a subsidy for vehicles that were to become taxis. We also mentioned a subsidy for the purchase of spare parts. Taxi drivers insisted on reducing the selling prices of these parts due to the rapid deterioration of the vehicles. The trade union suggested, in the event of the impossibility of subsidizing the spare parts, to go for a reduction in the tax charges. The state could carry out a revision of the VAT rate or even a total exemption for certain operations.

Furthermore, this strike showed a real breakdown in the communication channels between taxi drivers and the Chambre Syndicale des Taxis Individuals duringUTICA. The latter denied holding any strike and confirmed that drivers were encouraged to work normally. The Tunisian Union of Individual Taxi, for its part, rejected any sense of belonging to the employers’ organization. The chairman of the Chamber of Employers was even insulted by the taxi drivers who blocked part of route X. The protesters used swear words against him and called him a traitor. They also shouted “Utica clear!“. They claimed that the Chambre Syndicale did not defend their interests and had failed in its mission. One could conclude thatUtica and the Tunisian Union of Individual Taxis are currently in direct conflict. Each structure seeks to prove and demonstrate that it is the sole legitimate representative of the sector. The massive mobilization of taxi drivers in the avenues and main roads of the Republic could lead us to say that the Tunisian Union of Individual Taxis has dethronedUTICA. However, neither the number of attackers nor opponents of this measure has been officially announced.

It should be noted that certain regional taxi drivers’ chambers, such as Sfax, confirmed that they did not participate in this strike. Other testimonies confirm that the taxi drivers who decided not to participate in the strike had received threats. One of them told Business News that on the morning of the attack, he had been the target of throwing stones and projectiles. As for mobility applications, they are overloaded. The waiting time, set between 5 and 8 minutes at the launch of each application, becomes no less than fifteen minutes after the confirmation of the order.

This crisis shows the instability and fragility of the relationship between the state, trade unions and employers’ organizations and individuals. The taxi drivers’ reaction suggests that they had not been informed in advance about the revision of fuel prices. However, this kind of decision in times of crisis should normally be the subject of several consultations and information meetings. The government could thus have avoided a strike and negotiations, which it will be forced to initiate, not withUticabut the Tunisian Union of the individual taxi, whose members gathered in front of the seat of the Ministry. He will have to make concessions and submit to the latter’s will to put an end to this chaotic situation. All this could have been avoided through the establishment of an appropriate communication dynamic and decision-making within the framework of transparency.

Sophie Ghoubantini

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