Sheffield taxi drivers protest over pay terms

Taxi drivers protest
Taxi drivers protest outside the HQ of private hire company Veezu [BBC]

Dozens of Veezu taxi drivers have staged a protest outside their company office in a row over pay.

The drivers gathered outside Veezu's Sheffield offices to complain about new working conditions.

Veezu has introduced a new sliding scale of commission based on how many jobs each driver completes, but the drivers say it is putting too much pressure on them.

Veezu have said the drivers are self-employed and can "decide which operator they use".

A Veezu spokesperson told the BBC: "The drivers are running their own businesses, and several of the drivers have proposed commercial terms which Veezu is considering and will be discussing with them in the coming weeks."

The drivers say Veezu takes between 12% and 35% commission on fares and has recently reduced prices to entice customers.

One driver, Mujahid Hussain, said: “This unfair commission structure means we have to work extra hours just to maintain the main earnings we currently have.

“Also, the fare decrease means you are working for longer, you are earning less but you are paying a higher commission to the company.

“Taxi drivers have been affected hugely by the cost of living crisis - we have families to feed, and bills."

He added: “Before Veezu reduced the fares they should have taken on board that the cost of fuel, insurance and car maintenance have gone up.”

Aftab Ahmed
Veezu driver Aftab Ahmed [BBC]

Another driver, Aftab Ahmed, said a previous flat-rate commission worked much better.

“The company decided they wanted to help customers by reducing fares, but they have decided to take money off the drivers to pay for it," he said.

“All the costs are borne by the driver: the running cost of the car, the purchase, the insurance, the maintenance, the fuel, everything - but the company charges commission on actual earnings, not the profit.

“It feels like the company does not regard drivers as partners in the same business - not working as a team, but working against each other.”

The Veezu spokesperson said they hoped drivers would continue to work with the company but the firm was mindful "it is a commercial market" and drivers might choose to drive with different, or multiple, operators.