Taxi companies have been obliged to have their drivers work in Maxflex and block systems since 1 March. This leads to criticism from smaller companies that mainly offer street taxi transport. This method is not realistic for them. Moreover, it leads to a lot of extra costs, just when the positive trend had started again due to the relaxed corona measures. The FNV trade union mainly speaks of negative consequences for drivers.

Unpaid interruptions are a thing of the past with the new rules. A driver must know at least 19 days in advance when they are working and at least four days in advance what the working hours are. The driver must therefore know when a Maxflex or shift block is being worked. This is entered by the employer in the so-called SFM portal and is also checked by the Social Fund Mobility.

A Maxflex service is a service with a start and end time, in which a driver is entitled to a break of a maximum of ,5 percent of the total shift on that day. In service blocks, a driver has several start and end times in one day, which are paid in full. With a contract of 0 to 19 hours, the employer may specify a maximum of four blocks per day, whereby the working hours are already known in advance. With a contract of more than 19 hours, this may be a maximum of two, with a combined time of seven hours.

Small taxi entrepreneurs and drivers say that these new rules have put them in an unworkable situation. Also John Koole from Taxi Koole from Kapelle. “Because we want to comply with the rules, we started working in the new services last week. As a small company with nine taxis, however, it turns out to be impracticable in practice. The flexibility is gone and with sharp contract agreements it will be very difficult to keep your head above water.”

‘If it continues like this, I’ll stop’ Richard Jaasma of Taxi Richard from Sneek agrees. “We do street taxi work and do not have contract transport. I’ve been trying to organize my seven drivers into four block shifts, but just then another call comes in for a ride that falls outside a block. Then it becomes a Maxflex service and I have to pay a driver from the start. This costs me too much money.”

Jaasma explains that the demand for taxi transport varies greatly. “Sometimes it is very quiet. A train only arrives once an hour. That is why drivers also indicate that they prefer to wait at home. However, this is no longer possible with the block services,” he says. “We now work with Maxflex services on Saturday evenings. The turnover will then remain the same, but the number of hours will increase dramatically. It’s the first time I’ve heard from drivers: ‘If it continues like this, I’ll stop.’ That really bothers me.”

Drivers the dupe The agreements not only have major consequences for taxi companies, but also for drivers. FNV states that many employers do not implement the agreements. According to the union, this is because there would be divisions at the KNV and therefore lack of clarity about the rules among their members. “We have asked the KNV to inform their supporters in a correct manner about the agreements, to ensure that drivers receive what they are entitled to according to the collective labor agreement”, says driver Meindert Gorter.

Het would go wrong with breaks, among other things. “We are now seeing that some of the companies withhold the standard from the wage, even if the driver continues to work during the break. has. That means that wages are unfairly withheld.” Gorter calls it rude that employers convert the working time of the staff into break time. “Employers in the sector should be ashamed of the way in which they deal with agreements from the collective labor agreement to which they have co-written and which they have signed themselves. This does not make the sector, which is already desperate for people, any more attractive.”

Entrepreneurial risk The new agreements on breaks have replaced the arrangements from the old collective labor agreement. Drivers had to be available, but if there was no work at that time, the driver was not paid either. “It could therefore be that as a driver you had a ten-hour shift, but you were only paid for five hours,” explains Gorter. “In this way, the entrepreneurial risks were passed on to the drivers. Fortunately, with the new agreements, that is a thing of the past, but then the agreements must be properly fulfilled.” KNV did not want to comment for the time being.

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