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Thu 7 Aug 2008 10:57 AM

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Talks to prevent taxi drivers' deportation

Pakistani officials make case for 50 drivers in Dubai who face deportation after strike in July.

Pakistani officials are in talks with the Dubai government to prevent the deportation of about 50 taxi drivers who went on strike in July.

The intervention was made amid claims from some cabbies that as many as 250 drivers have been deported from the emirate for breaking labour laws, the UK's Financial Times reported on Thursday.

In early July, dozens of taxi drivers protested outside the headquarters of Dubai Taxi Agency, the government-owned taxi service, complaining about the rising burden of fines levied on them for breaking regulations.

Over the past few weeks, drivers claim, police have rounded up as many as 250 drivers linked to the July stoppage, most of whom have been deported to Pakistan, with a few going to India and Bangladesh.

A Pakistani official said the consulate in Dubai had intervened on behalf of 50 drivers threatened with deportation for striking, but said he had no knowledge of other expulsions.

The Road and Transport Authority told the FT no drivers had lost their jobs but declined to elaborate, saying the situation was "very sensitive".

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john do 12 years ago

When you come to Dubai (or any country), you MUST RESPECT the laws of the country as long as these laws do not interfere in your personal or religious rights, still, if you don't like it, you can leave. Its amazing how some nationalities think that this is their backyard and can act the way they would normally do in their country. Besides, Cabbies in Dubai are impolite even towards women (old and young) and children. For example, they are refusing to take passengers from "Ibn Battuta Mall" to the nearby residential areas, and when threatened by passengers that a complaint will be logged they say, go ahead, see if i care. Those drivers signed a contract, they MUST respect it. I guess they need to be put in their place or else, leave the country.

Trojan 12 years ago

Down with free speech! Down with freedom of expression! Down with labour rights! If you don't like it here, go back where you came from. And if you dare to protest unfair treatment, we are going to deport you. Hey Enoc, now that is what I call "international standards", not drivers pumping their own gas!

Topa 12 years ago

Taxi drivers who are doing a good job and are well groomed should be retained and the junk should be trashed. After all this is a public service job and the standard of service should be high, if Dubai wants to maintain its image as projected.

Peter Peter 12 years ago

Why is it that we always hear about how taxi drivers are at fault for either not being polite, or refusing passengers , or striking etc. Why do we never hear about the totally unfair, one sided and oppressive living and working conditions that they have to face ? The RTA is one of the worst agencies in this regard and I fail to understand why Senior members of the government do not get involved and spell out a more humane way of dealing with these people. The worst part of all this is that while the authorities t expect the drivers to follow the rules , to be polite and behave in a "civilized" way , they themselves are breaking all norms of decency in their attitude and behavior towards defenseless people who are exploited and squeezed till there is nothing left in them. Perhaps it might be worth the "high up" RTA officials who make these rules to live and work under the same conditions before talking about deporting people ! i wonder if these guys will survive sleeping 6 to a room , 12 hour work shifts , not a single of day in the week and an oppressive regime which does everything to make life difficult rather than easy. Food for thought what ?

Savio 12 years ago

Obviously John is a newcomer to Dubai and hasn't discovered how the "other half" lives. He does not know that the poor taxi drivers are gypped in to coming here with false promises by agents and touts in their home countries and often get caught in a vicious circle that they can't get out of. They often sell land, home , jewelry or borrow from money lenders to BUY a visa to come to Dubai because of the rosy picture painted to them. Then they are forced to work long hours under appalling conditions. If RTA were willing to give a release to the taxi drivers I bet a good 30% would opt out of their job the very next day !! Many drivers have told me so. I met one driver the other day who was threatened with deportation when he talked back to a customer who was abusive. He has been insisting on his visa being cancelled and being sent back but the taxi company is refusing to do it because there is a great shortage of drivers. It's fine for Topa to say "trash" the rest but I doubt any of his compatriots ( unless they are from India or pakistan ) would be willing to come and work for a company that does not pay a fixed salary and fines the drivers at the drop of a hat for real or imaginary infractions of silly rules. I would like to urge both John and Topa to engage their next taxi driver in a heart to heart talk and then may be they will begin to understand that it is these poor exploited souls who are doing US a favor by working in impossible conditions and providing a service, no matter how imperfect. John and Topa always have the option to go out and buy/rent a car and drive themselves around or go back to where they came from.

Suresh 12 years ago

Taxi drivers do not get a salary, they operate on commission and short trips ( like from Ibn Batuta ) after long wait in queues hurts them badly. Why does not the RTA fix a salary like in any other part of the world ? It will solve all the problems. Alternately fix a certain number of taxis for duty at each mall ( like they do at the airport ) and start the meter at a premium ( like they do at the airport ) and there will be no problem. Finally give all the malls permission to run mini buses in their neighborhoods with a free ride to the mall and back , rather like the "courtesy buses" run buy the hotels for the airport. But then I doubt any one in RTA is going to listen to or implement these suggestions. They seem hell bent on doing everything OTHER than solving problems. How else can one explain the new Salik gates ?