LTA Welcomes Supreme Court Decision

Caption: Taxi owners and PSV drivers benefit from Supreme Courts decision. Photo: PACIFIC REACH LIMITED.

June 8,  2017. Do taxi drivers who hold PSV licenses work for those who own their taxis (taxi permit holders) or are they classified as independent contractors?

The Supreme Court of Fiji in a landmark judgment had ruled that taxi owners can make their own arrangement with any driver with a PSV license without employing them.

The Supreme Court overturned a Fiji court of Appeal ruling handed down in 2006 in the case of Hasan Ali vs Transport Workers Union that raised a question about the character of the working arrangements between the owner of a fleet of taxicabs and his drivers.

The Fiji Court of appeal had upheld a High Court ruling at the time in which the  High court had ruled that the relationship between the permit holder and the driver it employed was that of an employer and employee. Under this arrangement the employer was liable to pay FNPF and all other statutory deductions for and on behalf of his employee.

The judgment by the Supreme Court was clear in its ruling: PSV permit holders can hire out, (but not sell) their permits to other licensed PSV drivers who may not necessarily be employed by the taxi company.

The Supreme Court went on to state in its judgment that the relationship between the permit holder and the taxi driver it engaged was that of a bailor and bailee and not necessarily master and servant, provided of course the contract the permit holder and the driver entered into clearly defined the nature of the relationship

“This was a significant decision because it opens up opportunities for drivers without a permit to operate a PSV vehicle,” said LTA CEO, Carmine Piantedosi.