Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Victimisation/Harassment of Drivers by Owners/Operators.

10a. Victimisation/Harassment of Drivers by Owners/Operators.

There are proponents of the view that there was no need for legislation to protect drivers from harassment or victimisation by the owners/operators in the first place. They simply argue that none exists. However, there exists extensive documentation concerning the unfair and unjust harassment of taxi drivers/single cab owners by the taxi networks/companies identified above collectively as the "TaxiCouncil"/Taxi Industry Association (TIA)/Taxi Cooperatives who all have as their titular head a "Mr. Taxi" one Mr. R Kermode.

It is the view of many non-owner drivers (bailees) that attempts to demonstrate this pattern of owner harassment through individual prosecution in the Industrial Courts have been undermined by the complete unwillingness of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to either follow through court directions to their logical conclusion, or, in the majority of cases, to initiate prosecutions of employers/employing bodies in the first place, even where there are clear and well-documented examples of driver harassment.

As far as single cab owner-operators are concerned, there is also clear evidence that if they complain about anything of substance to their peak body (the TIA) they are regarded as nuisances. There is atleast circumstantial evidence that such single cab owner-operators can be subjected to victimisation by DOT/DIR inspectors. The same fears have been raised in relation to audits from the Taxation Dept.In some cases even the bailee drivers these owners employ are also subject to harassment by the government departmental inspectors. Someo wners have gone as far as to allege that these inspectors operate a sa private police force under the direction of key personnel within the TIA. (There are documented cases of DOT inspections as late as 12 midnight and other examples where a taxi owner in dispute with theTIA faced repeated inspections of his taxi when it was in "tip top"condition).

This alleged misuse of enforcement personnel from the public sector must surely be a matter of concern to any ICAC inquiry? At the very least ICAC must inquire as to whether public officials are impartially enforcing the law to one and all within the industry. At a minimum, it must be established why those owners most closely associated with the TIA appear forever immune from prosecution for what are clearly flagrant breaches of all the relevant legislation. Without a full inquiry into these aspects of the industry public confidence will never be regained, aggrieved drivers and owners willi nevitably continue to inform the travelling public of their fears and misgivings. This inevitably saps confidence in the entire industry.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

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