If a taxi driver in Germany, for example, is in distress during a ride, he can press the silent alarm, after which his roof light lights up red. Bystanders can recognize from this that a threatening situation has arisen for the driver within the car. Harold Agterberg, director of the Utrechtse Taxi Centrale (UTC), does not think that such a system also works in the Netherlands.

According to the Algemeen Dagblad the lighting in roof lights of taxis, as in Germany, has different functions. When the skylight is on, the taxi is free, when it is off, there is already a passenger in the car. But when the roof light shows a red light, there is a danger to the driver inside the taxi.

According to the newspaper, the red light only lights up if the taxi driver has switched on the ‘silent alarm’. The red flashing roof light is a sign to bystanders that the driver is in danger. Think of situations where the driver is attacked or held hostage. “At the same time, an alarm code is also sent to the taxi center,” the newspaper writes.

Emergency button Harold Agterberg, director of the Utrechtse Taxi Centrale (UTC), does not think such a system will work in the Netherlands. “There are many taxi companies that just have a button on the driver’s side,” he explains. “Drivers can press that button with their leg or foot, which sends a signal to the control center.”

In addition, Agterberg does not think that involving bystanders will have any effect . “I wonder if the social level in our society is so high that they react immediately to a red skylight. Nowadays, if a car alarm or a burglar siren goes off somewhere, most people just keep walking. In addition, bystanders must also know what such a red flashing roof light means. Then rather a button with a connection to the control center, where you know for sure that action will actually be taken.”

Fewer incidents Finally, the UTC director notes that there are far fewer incidents today than in the past. “Taxi drivers never actually carry cash in their pockets,” Agterberg explains. “All payments now go through the account. Fortunately, committing a robbery no longer pays.”

“In addition, with the current techniques that are available today, you can quickly establish a lot of things. Deviating behaviour, such as a car that is not driving when it should be at that moment, is striking. Nowadays everyone owns a mobile phone. This allows taxi drivers to quickly warn the police or the control center if something is wrong,” concludes Agterberg.

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Coach drivers are on strike at Van der Valk Hotel Schiphol for a better Collective Labor Agreement for Private Bus Transport.Photo: ProMedia/Olivier Smits

Arriva Touring drivers, who provide passenger journeys between the terminal and aircraft at Schiphol, have ceased their work on Wednesday. About fifteen drivers went on strike because they want a better Collective Labor Agreement for Private Bus Transport. “They want an offer that shows they are valued.”

It is 11.27 hours when the bus full of striking coach drivers arrives at Van der Valk Hotel Schiphol. This hotel is the setting where Arriva Touring drivers, who normally transport passengers from the terminal to the planes, go on strike. “During the safety consultations, Schiphol attached great importance to the fact that we would not strike at the airport itself,” explains FNV director Lutz Kressin, who is leading the strike, explaining the choice for this location. “We eventually gave in to that.”

The demonstrators arrive at Van der Valk Hotel Schiphol. The coach drivers stopped their work yesterday because they want a better Collective Labor Agreement for Private Bus Transport. The drivers who have come to the hotel to leave their work are almost all employed by Arriva. “The work pressure there is incredibly high,” the FNV director further explains. “People often complain about the schedules, the small contracts and the oversized flexibility. You have to be available almost all the time and the working relations are not too good either.”

On 26 October, coach drivers already met at Ede-Wageningen train station to strike . The drivers who were present yesterday could not participate in that action, even though they fall under the same collective labor agreement. “This is actually a delayed action,” explains Kressin.

There is too little staff and too little payment

Less than a number One of the drivers present says he is here because he wants better working conditions. He also says he sometimes feels undervalued. “There is too little staff and too little payment,” he explains. And the friendly driver also cracks a critical note about the interaction on the work floor. For example, he admits to feeling denigrated on a regular basis. “You are actually less than a number at Arriva.”

Another driver, who is also present at this strike, has a different opinion about his employer. “I think Arriva is a very good employer. If I have a problem, all I have to do is go to the office and it will be taken care of. I am also here because of the collective labor agreement, not because I am against Arriva.”

He thinks it is important that clear agreements are included in the collective labor agreement. “We have had an unclear collective labor agreement for years,” he says. “You can interpret our collective labor agreement in different ways. There are always hooks and eyes. As a result, it always remains a bit cowboy-like.”

FNV director Lutz Kressin addresses the present drivers. Transfer to public transport According to the drivers, many drivers decide to leave the sector and switch to public transport due to the high workload and the working conditions. “A colleague of mine made that switch,” says one of the demonstrators. “He has more free time, more days off, more vacation days and has 768 euros per month to spend more. I think that’s quite a bit. The difference is just too big.”

Yet the driver is not thinking of turning his back on the sector. “Schiphol is a nice place to work,” he says. “In addition, in public transport you are really just chasing your time. We don’t have that at Schiphol. And colleagues also play an important role in this. I have a close relationship with many colleagues. We also meet several times a year.”

New strikes The unions and employers have been negotiating a new Collective Labor Agreement for Private Bus Transport for months. There is still no breakthrough. Nevertheless, Kressin hopes to hear from the employers before the end of this year. “Of course it is up to them, but we have a good feeling about it. That’s because many employers call us. They also think it is time for a good collective labor agreement.”

I think that employers also realize that they have to come up with a good offer

“The drivers want that too. They want an offer that shows that they are valued. In addition, many buses are currently standing still, because there are not enough drivers available. I think that the employers also realize that they have to come up with a good offer.”

Breakthrough If the employers do not come up with a collective bargaining offer that the unions and drivers can live with, new strikes threaten in mid-December. “We will continue to campaign until we have a collective labor agreement that our members are satisfied with,” Kressin concludes.

“It is very difficult, but I hope that the employers will eventually comply,” adds one of the demonstrators. “I hope there will be another breakthrough this year”, concludes the driver.

Arriva recognizes the sounds When asked, Arriva has stated that it recognizes the sounds that emerge in this article. “These are sounds that are also made in other professional groups about the collective labor agreements and are therefore recognizable”, says a spokesperson.

Finally, Arriva has already introduced a number of the measures, such as those for a new collective labor agreement. “It is therefore not necessary, we think, to start a strike. But everyone has the right to strike. This strike is more about the collective labor agreement than about employee satisfaction with Arriva as an employer.”

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Burnout. Photo for illustration.Photo: Pixabay/Gerd Altmann

Taxi drivers can also fall victim to a burnout. How can such burnouts be recognized and prevented in time? Koen Luyckx, co-owner of the Belgian Balansis (Health Consultant), gives some tips.

Can you give an example of what can trigger a burnout in the taxi sector?

“Then I think of a taxi driver who likes to have social contacts and likes to talk to people. However, the passengers are not interested in communicating with him, they are indifferent and even rude. The driver will withdraw more and more, and eventually stop talking to his customers. This will worsen the situation so that he will no longer find pleasure in his work and he will run into a burnout.”

Do you have another example?

“A salaried driver has to work more shifts because there are many sick drivers. He does double duty but receives no appreciation for this from his boss or manager. He may simply expect an extra day of leave or a word of thanks. If this does not happen, he will not feel appreciated and the situation between employee and employer or manager may deteriorate. That is why it is important that a manager is not only good at his task as a manager, but he must also be able to motivate his people.”

Burnout is now often referred to as “the disease of our times”. Is that right?

“Research has shown that with every transition to a different era, the number of people with a burnout increases. We are now in the transition from a service economy to a digital economy. Other means are used, for example, to communicate with each other. Just think of Instagram, Tiktok, blockchain and bitcoins, for example. This in itself entails extra stress, both in the private sphere and in the workplace, because many people do not immediately go along with this, while it is expected of them.”

The employer must realize that prevention is always better and cheaper than cure

How big is the problem of burnouts?

“The latest figures from the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (RIZIV) – between 2020 and 2020 – show that the number of wage earners (employees and unemployed) + self-employed persons receiving disability benefits due to burnout or depression, has increased by in four years ,23 per cent. The most recent figures (2020) by Petra De Sutter, federal minister of civil service, that stress is 40,4 percent the cause of prolonged sick leave. Burnout (40 percent) and depression (40 percent) account for the majority of this.”

What is burnout?

“In case of a burnout, the work is always the main cause of the overload and mental exhaustion. That exhaustion is emotional, physical and psychological. The extreme fatigue that the person experiences becomes chronic and he feels that he cannot get out of this situation. This exhaustion can also have an impact on an emotional level: one becomes irritable, there can be anger outbursts, crying out of the blue, etc. The cognitive ability is also affected: for example, one becomes forgetful, it is more difficult to concentrate, which in turn can lead to to changes in behaviour. And so the burn-out is constantly fed.”

What are the consequences of a burnout?

“Mental people begin to distance themselves more from work: they distance themselves and become cynical. As a result, people gradually feel less involved in their work, they start to dedicate themselves less to their work, they keep the people in their work environment at a distance or they get a bad picture of the people they work with. This in turn can lead to a feeling of professional inadequacy: one begins to think that one is doing the wrong job or that one is no longer working efficiently and one begins to doubt one’s self-worth. Factors that can further aggravate the burnout are, for example, problems in private life or when exercising a hobby. But the main cause always lies in the working atmosphere.”

How do you recognize a burnout?

“There are four major and three secondary symptoms that herald burnout. Both the person himself and the employer are served by recognizing these symptoms at the earliest possible stage in order to avoid a possible burnout. Then I think of physical and mental exhaustion, memory and concentration problems, emotional reactions that become more intense and more distant from things. People sleep worse or sometimes get panic attacks (mental tension complaints). People suddenly get migraine attacks or other physical pains, such as a stiff neck (psychosomatic tension complaints). One gets dark thoughts, one feels downcast and inferior (also symptoms of depression).”

What can be done preventively by the employer?

“Every prevention policy with regard to psychosocial risks starts with a risk analysis: within the organization it is examined what the factors are that can cause acute or chronic stress, which can develop into a burnout at a later stage. Ideally, all employees are involved in this or, if the structure of the company does not allow this, at least the managers. It is then important that the managers keep a close eye on what is happening on the work floor.”

It is better to complete a few tasks well than to take on many tasks that are only half completed

It is also important to teach employees and/or managers how to recognize stress signals. What’s up with that?

“Employees must also become aware that, at the first sign of stress or burnout, they inform the employer or their manager. The manager must be able to respond appropriately to this. The employer must realize that prevention is always better and cheaper than cure. The company culture must be built in such a way that the employee feels safe and understood when reporting a problem.

Employees must also recognize signs of burnout in good time. How can he do that?

“Employees should be aware that there are other priorities in their lives than their work, such as friends, free time and family. They must learn to make time for themselves and realize that this is not a selfish thing to do. In the field of work, they must dare to say ‘no’ if the pressure becomes too high for them and they must know that they can communicate this to the employer without any problems. If the pressure at work becomes too great, a schedule can be made in advance according to priority, difficulty, feasibility, etc. Tasks that cannot be completed according to the schedule are transferred to the next day. Complete task by task. It is better to complete a few tasks well than to take on many tasks that are only half done. That causes unnecessary stress.”

Suppose we have a burnout after all. What do we do best then?

“The most obvious but not the most common solution is to seek help as soon as possible. Various professional people are eligible for this, such as psychologists, stress and burnout coaches, career counselors, yoga teachers, mindfulness teachers, float therapy and an acupuncturist.”

Koen Luyckx, co-owner of Balance. This article previously appeared on sister magazine TaxiPro.be. Read here the full article.

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Company bus ends up on the side when it collides with a taxi bus.Photo: News United/03 Achterhoek news

A taxi bus collided with a company bus at the intersection of Lichtenberg with Oude Dinxperloseweg on Wednesday afternoon. One of the vehicles ended up on its side. No one was hurt.

The company bus wanted to drive onto the Oude Dinxperloseweg from Lichtenberg and overlooked the taxi bus on the Oude Dinxperloseweg, causing a collision. Due to the impact, the company bus came to a stop on the side.

Both drivers were checked by ambulance personnel. Ultimately, no one had to go to the hospital. The intersection was closed to traffic in both directions after the accident. A recovery company had to tow the two company buses.

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Avan wants to keep demand-driven transport in the Arnhem-Nijmegen region predictable and therefore more feasible. The transport organization is therefore changing the rules for booking a ride as of 1 January 2023. In practice, this means that travelers must now book morning and evening rides well in advance.

The new rules apply to journeys with a departure time between 08.00 and 10.00 hours in the morning (for these rides the evening before 20. hours to be booked) and 20. and 00.08 hours in the evening (before 11. hours same evening booking). By booking earlier, the taxi companies can better take into account the number of journeys and ensure that travelers can be picked up on time. It also prevents transport from being unavailable at certain times due to driver shortages, according to the transport organization. Nothing changes during the day The advanced ride reservation times apply to both online and telephone bookings. For journeys with a departure time between 10.00 hours and 20.07 hours, these can still be booked by telephone one hour in advance and online two hours in advance. For all journeys booked between three hours and one hour in advance, a surcharge of one time the boarding rate of the discounted WMO rate applies. “All travelers are advised to book rides as early as possible in advance. Due to the current driver shortages, it is possible that no transport will otherwise be available at the desired time.”

Avan drives on behalf of the municipalities of Arnhem, Berg en Dal, Beuningen , Doesburg, Druten, Duiven, Heumen, Lingewaard, Montferland, Mook and Middelaar, Nijmegen, Overbetuwe, Renkum, Rheden, Rozendaal, Westervoort, Wijchen and Zevenaar. Only people with a WMO indication can book and travel a maximum of 10 kilometers with their WMO pass, often with a discount.

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Taxi driver Arnold, who provides taxi rides as an independent driver for mobility platform Bolt, can use a hydrogen taxi free of charge for a year. He is the winner of the Drivers League, a giveaway created by Bolt in which taxi drivers can win a hydrogen lease car for twelve months.

The Bolt driver says he is very happy with his prize. “When I got a call from Bolt, I immediately knew: ‘I won the hydrogen car’. We immediately went out for dinner with the whole family. I’ve had a lot of setbacks in the past year and I really hoped to experience something positive. When I heard this I was very relieved and above all very happy that I had won.”

Emission-free driving Arnold drives so for the coming year for free in a Toyota Mirai. According to Bolt, he can put his Skoda Fabia aside for at least a year, saving almost 3.000 kilos of CO2. According to the European taxi platform, that is also one of the main reasons why the Drivers League was created. The action was created in collaboration with Shell, Leaseplan and Toyota and is just one of the actions Bolt is taking to promote zero-emission driving. )Two birds with one stone According to Bolt, the company killed two birds with one stone with the Drivers League: this competition gave drivers an impulse to switch to emission-free transport and, according to the taxi platform extra encouraged to drive rides. From 09, Bolt says he wants to drive completely emission-free in all major Dutch cities.

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The association for students in special education is “deeply, deeply, deeply disappointed” about the possible new strikes in care and student transport. FNV drivers will probably stop working again next Wednesday. This makes it difficult for the students to be taken from home to school and back.

and yet again the victim” of the strike, “and this time it looks like even nationwide”. Pupils with, for example, autism, ADHD or Down’s syndrome can attend special education. They need a lot of structure in their day. “Our students don’t have a moment’s rest, because their transport is still so lousy and the damage is already so great,” says LBVSO.

Call to accept demands The interest group says it supports the drivers and calls on employers to accept their demands. The LBVSO does ask drivers to let the children and their parents know well in advance whether they are participating in the strike. In principle, they only have to let us know at the start of their shift, so not until next Wednesday. “That is much too late for our children.”

Failed negotiations Drivers who work in the care and student transport went on strike in four provinces last week. New actions were then suspended because employers and unions started talking to each other on Monday. However, the trade union FNV says that the negotiations have failed and that the new offer from the employers is worse than what was on the table.

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The collective bargaining about a new collective labor agreement for care transport and taxi, which was resumed yesterday after a national strike on Friday, failed. That is what FNV says. Members of the trade union in the sector have subsequently decided to continue the strike. Next Wednesday (29 November) there will be 24 hours on strike.

“In this sector, with many vulnerable passengers, we choose to announce the strike well in time. Then everyone has enough time to prepare for it,” says FNV director Meindert Gorter. According to him, the drivers prefer not to strike. “But the fact that they do it anyway says something about the necessity.”

Strike at three largest taxi companies According to FNV there will in any case be a strike at the three largest taxi companies next Wednesday, namely Connexxion, Munckhof and Noot. According to the union, other companies from all over the country will also be added. “We hope that employers will take the opportunity to come up with an improvement on continued payment in the event of illness and with better checks on the wage calculation before Wednesday,” said Gorter.

Last Friday the first strikes in care and student transport took place. After those strikes, the employers invited the unions to discuss the new collective agreement again. “We responded with hope,” explains Meindert Gorter. “Yesterday, however, was very disappointing. In fact, the new offer only got worse. While the requirements of the drivers are quite normal. They want a wage that allows them to pay groceries and bills, controllable schedules and working hours and they want to be paid 100 percent when they are sick and no more waiting days .”

CNV is currently not taking any action The other trade union, CNV Vakmensen, has a different opinion on this theme. They talk about an ‘improved final offer’. “It concerns important improvements, such as higher wages, better arrangements for illness and a fairer break arrangement,” says CNV negotiator Rick Pellis. “By shortening the term of the collective labor agreement to one and a half years, the wage increase for employees now actually works out better,” according to the union.

“In addition, the first sick report of the year the waiting day will now expire. This has been an important point for our members, because it creates the wrong incentive,” explains Pellis further. “People now continue to work while they are sick, otherwise they will miss out on salary. We are glad that at least that first waiting day will disappear.”

That is why CNV has decided to suspend any actions for the time being. According to the union, the members are now the first to act. “We are now going to present this new final offer to our members. Until then, we will in any case not organize any actions.” CNV members have until 29 November to vote.

Employers’ organization KNV Care Transport and Taxi has informed ANP that it does not want to respond to the announcement of FNV.

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A woman in a wheelchair is picked up by a taxi. Photo for illustration.Photo: ANP/ ROB ENGELAAR

The employers in healthcare and taxi transport (united in KNV Zorgtransport and Taxi) said they made an ultimate attempt yesterday to arrive at a new collective labor agreement. The employers therefore submitted an improved final offer for a collective labor agreement. The final offer has a term of eighteen months. The collective labor agreement must take effect on 1 January 2024 and will last until 18 June 2024.

The employers have again offered a wage increase of 8 percent on 1 January 2023 and another 4 percent on 1 January 2024. In addition, compared to the previous final offer, the employers propose changes with regard to breaks and continued payment in the event of illness.

Change the current break scheme The employers want to change the current break scheme so that only unpaid breaks may be withheld if they have actually been taken. In the current scheme, a maximum of 11, 5 percent of the working time may be withheld at a fixed rate. In addition, in the new proposal, in case of illness, the first eight weeks 30 percent of the salary will be paid and then 80 percent, up to and including the second year of illness. The waiting day also lapses with the first sick report.

In addition, the employers are abandoning their wish to return to the old salaried time scheme. The employers do, however, propose to amend the current scheme to make it more applicable in practice. “In the employers’ proposal, the length of the shift can now vary per day, which is more in line with transport demand,” the employers write. “At the same time, the proposal makes it possible for drivers to better connect private and work.” The employers also propose not to apply the commuting deduction if drivers have to use a charging station that is far from their own home.

Too large technical challenges Finally, in the new bid, the employers propose to cancel the proposed online registration of services, due to the technical challenges that are too great. “Of course, time registration remains mandatory, as is the obligation to offer opportunities to the Social Fund for Mobility to check this registration,” concludes Royal Dutch Transport (KNV).

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Coach drivers from Arriva Touring, who provide passenger journeys between the terminal and aircraft at Schiphol, will stop working on Wednesday. FNV reports this. According to the union, they do this because they want a better Collective Labor Agreement for Private Bus Transport.

The drivers want, among other things, a wage increase of 100 euros gross per month and that wages will henceforth rise in line with the prices in the shops. Furthermore, they want all services to be paid 100 percent. “Now there are six-hour shifts, but the drivers only get paid for five,” says Lutz Kressin, director of FNV Toer. “That is really out of date.” Furthermore, the drivers want a working day of no more than twelve hours and that the contract hours be adjusted in case of structural overtime.

High work pressure According to FNV, about three thousand people work in the coach sector, but the work pressure is high due to the large staff shortage. According to the union, the only solution is a fair and attractive collective labor agreement. “Then it will be interesting again for new drivers to come and work in the sector and for existing drivers to stay,” says Kressin.

According to FNV, the action is in line with previous actions in the sector , including a nationwide strike in Ede last month. According to Kressin, about a hundred coach drivers took part in the strike at the time. The drivers went on strike on Wednesday 10. and 15.00 hours.

“Excellent” final offer The employers, united in Bus transport Netherlands ( BVN), have indicated that they will maintain their earlier position. They are still surprised that the unions rejected the latest collective bargaining offer. In addition, the employers speak of an ‘excellent’ final offer. “We go further with the offer than other collective agreements that are now being concluded in other sectors and we offer more than core inflation”, said BVN chairman Bertho Eckhardt about that at the time.

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