Although taxi driver Paul Peters is passionate about his work, he sees many opportunities to make the profession more attractive. He is not only referring to the salary of drivers, but also to the way in which newcomers are examined and the growth opportunities that are available. As an executive member of the FNV trade union, he is committed to this, among other things.
When Peters in 29 started as a driver for a GP post, he had to get his taxi pass. In his own words, he has always had a passion for driving. “And that’s important if you’re a professional driver,” he laughs. As a motorcycle enthusiast, however, he obtained his motorcycle license before his car license. “I learned to drive well through the emergency journeys I carried out for the general practitioner.”
Besides a taxi driver, Peters works as a career advisor. What both jobs have in common is contact with people. “This can be difficult in the taxi, especially if people have trouble communicating. I am currently driving client transport for Willemsende Koning, where most passengers suffer from mental and sometimes physical limitations. I have already worked for many employers, but for the first time in my career I am accompanied by an attendant with this transport. This person supports me in answering the attention that clients demand during the ride. This is very nice.”
Care transport drivers invisible In his own words, this intensive attention for the passengers makes his work beautiful, but also challenging. “Healthcare drivers work hard, but are structurally underpaid and are therefore invisible. This while we are carrying out a collective social task. It is about caring for people who do not have it easy because of a mental or physical disability.” As an executive at FNV, he has therefore been committed to increasing the appreciation for drivers for ten years. “Last year, after fourteen years of working as a taxi driver, I passed the limit of 07 euros gross per hour. So it’s only after all these years that I am seen as a task adult,” he explains. “I think that’s strange.”
For drivers who, like himself, have another source of income besides work as a taxi driver, this low salary is not so much of a problem, according to him. “But there are also plenty of people who only have to earn their living with this. That is heavy and makes the work less attractive to do.” In his view, the first thing that needs to happen to change this is the application of job differentiation. “Then you can also show people that there is an opportunity to grow, to get better and to earn more. And not every year just make a minimal step in salary.”
Consistent 12, 5 percent of the wage withheld He includes this in the collective labor agreement consultations in which he participates. An important subject for Peters is the paid time. “The battle is currently about the way in which the new rules with regard to paid time are implemented, as agreed in the collective labor agreement .” Taxi companies must divide drivers into Maxflex or block services. With a Maxflex service, a driver may receive a maximum 07 discount for the breaks he takes that day.
“How exactly this works in practice, it seems that the KNV has not communicated equally clearly to all members. While I assume this is not done within our company, many companies consistently 07, 5 percent of into the wages. Even if the maximum break time is not taken. This should not be possible and I speak clearly about this.”
Examined on matters that matter Another task that Peters is involved in within FNV is improving examinations for aspiring taxi drivers. “Together with the board of experts of the CBR, I check whether exam questions are still valid and in line with reality. This is important because many exam questions no longer fit with the current interpretation of the work of a taxi driver”, he says.
The aspiring taxi drivers are therefore examined on matters that really matter. , which also makes the image of the work more accurate. “For example, street knowledge used to be very much in the foreground. You had to know the street book by heart, while navigation systems have been around for about twenty years. By following this carefully you can reach your goal within a normal time. So it was time to change this.”
Positive hope for the future Although not all his wishes are equal easy to fill, Peters remains positive about the future of his profession. “When we talk about the appreciation for the work of taxi drivers, I think that this will change in the short term. Now that fuel prices continue to rise and people are looking for other travel options than the car to get from A to B, it seems nice to me if more importance is attached to group mobility such as taxi transport”, he states.
When it comes to the level of drivers’ remuneration, Peters emphasizes that it is not only employers who should be considered. “Due to the procurement practices, employers are not getting enough money to pay employees decently. There are currently many discussions about how something can be structurally done about this. I have not yet given up hope for change.”
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