Tuesday, 26 August 2008


With the car in the shop and Al Habtoor getting ready to take a significant chunk out of me in return for the usual skimdisksreplacebrakepads experience, I'm travelling to work this morning with Mr. G. and about a million other poor bastards. Sharjah is gridlocked and there are roadworks every which way you go. It's madness. However, it's an ill wind and all that - a two hour journey gave us plenty of time to catch up on the arms trade (Pakistan is apparently awash in Rs10,000 AK47s, compared to an ex-factory price ten times that), murdered Lebanese starlets and, of course, what's new in taxi-land.

Although I thought, given the number of conversations I've had with Mr G. on the subject, that I had a relatively good grounding on the iniquities of the transport companies, I didn't know, for instance, that the drivers are forced to go to the taxi company's own garage for minor repairs and pay for them themselves at rates fixed by the company. As the company garage is operated as a profit centre in its own right, drivers are finding that these simple repairs are coming with a pretty hefty price tag.

This, surely, is yet another classic example of the fact that these drivers are, in fact, indentured labour.

Mr G is also quite gleeful with his new mobile: operator Du apparently gave the taxi company 1,200 SIMs for the drivers and Mr. G. is delighted at the per-second billing as he makes a load of short duration calls such as 'I am outside the villa now, Sir' and the like.

Personally I'm less than impressed with this stealth marketing. Not only are they giving the damn things away now, they've kiboshed the Du Test with my taxi driver!!! Grrr!!!

1 comment:

redstar said...

The way the drivers are treated is truly shocking. Fines dished out with no explanation, making them pay for repairs to the company's own car. Shocking.

One new thing I learnt - lots of drivers who feel like taking more than one month off after working 7 days a week for over a year, simply extend the holiday in Pakistan by a month or two and pay a 500Dh 'late return' fine.

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