Durban - The taxi industry should be subsidised by the government in the same way as the bus sector, the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) said on Monday.
Satawu national office bearer Richard Hughes said this would enable employers to pay their workers a minimum wage.
Hughes was speaking in Durban at the department of labour's public hearing on wages and conditions of employment in the taxi industry ahead of a minimum wage review.
He said taxi associations should be phased out and the industry be run as a business where taxi owners each owned shares.
The department of labour has proposed a minimum wage of R2449.90 for drivers and administration workers, R1959.40 for rank marshals and R1713.70 for other workers.
Taxi drivers have demanded a minimum wage of R2500 a month. They also suggested that drivers work only nine hours a day.
Satawu's Oupa Old John complained about the working conditions taxi drivers were subjected to.
“There is no agreement on working conditions, no empathy on the treatment of drivers or their welfare, no bonuses, no increase in wages, long working hours, and above all no bookkeeping because employers are afraid of the SA Revenue Service,” he said.
Old John said taxi owners were concerned only about money and their vehicles.
SA Taxi Workers' Organisation founding member Thandeka Khoza said the target system needed to be scrapped because it put the lives of commuters at risk.
She said drivers worked under pressure with some having to meet a target of R1000 a day.
Drivers who were under pressure to meet targets drove recklessly as they feared losing their jobs, Khoza said. - Sapa