Klaus Meier is a taxi social pilot in Berlin. He has been driving taxis for more than thirty years. In the meantime, only part-time. His main job is now looking after the employed and self-employed staff of Berlin’s taxi and hire car companies. He always has an open ear for his colleagues and, if necessary, provides information about social and labour law advice and assistance that can help them. On the phone, but also at the taxi rank.
The approximately 20,000 drivers of Berlin taxis and taxi-type hire cars often earn less than the statutory minimum wage. Many find themselves in entrenched hardship due to their living and working conditions. Labour law, sick pay and holidays are often foreign concepts for them.
These problems have been increasing since the 1990s as the taxi industry has evolved from one-car operations to larger companies with up to 100 vehicles and employees.
The "Taxi-Soziallotse" is a project of the BALZ in cooperation with the Berlin-Brandenburg district of the service trade union ver.di, funded by the Berlin governement Department for Integration, Labour and Social Affairs as part of the "Solidarity Basic Income" programme.
Today, the Berlin Senate Department for Integration, Labour and Social Affairs is publishing a portrait of taxi social pilot Klaus Meier. Text by Katrin Rohnstock, photos by Ina Schoenenburg. The text tells of personal experiences and professional stages and answers the question of how to become a taxi social pilot.