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President of the Taxi Drivers’ Union Is Willing to Fight to the End to Achieve Their Goal – Oppose the Introduction of Uber. He Even Supports Castration of a Journalist!

After the Minister of Infrastructure Jernej Vrtovec announced legislation that will regulate and modernise the existing taxi services, which includes making the business transactions between providers and customers easier, there has been a growing demand for the arrival of providers such as Uber. Of course, this is not surprising, as such services allow users cheaper transport and they find out what the cost of travel will be in advance, have control of when the taxi arrives and so on. On Wednesday, the investigative journalist Bojan Požar revealed why the president of the Taxi Drivers’ Union, which is part of the Trade Union of Transport and Connections Workers (Sindikat delavcev prometa in zvez Slovenije – SDPZ), Dejan Jefim, is so vehemently opposing Uber’s arrival to Slovenia and was even threatened with physical violence?!

“Due to threats of violence, we already submitted a written notice (complaint) against the (unknown) perpetrator to the General Police Administration, as we do not intend to tolerate such actions any longer.” This was published on the Požareport website only a day after the article, which revealed some background information on Dejan Jefim, who is also the co-owner and director of the Net-Informatika company, was revealed. Jefim is trying to convince Slovenian taxi drivers to oppose the “exploitative” Uber, which will, in turn, help him maintain a monopoly on digital platforms.

Who is afraid of the competition?
Jefim vehemently opposes the arrival of Uber because, as he says, he knows its inner workings and has nothing good to say about it. In an interview for the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia, he admitted that he is a programmer and the founder of the Net Informatika company. When asked how he got involved in the story of the taxi drivers, he replied that he has been involved in the development of applications for users, drivers and dispatch centres for more than a decade now. “We have one of the better systems in the world; we are now expanding into Austria and the German-speaking market, and we have also developed good cooperation with the state in Serbia. We are the local provider of these systems, and that is also why we got engaged now that the Minister of Infrastructure is trying to bring something to Slovenia that we have been working on for ten years, with our own resources and knowledge, without the help of the state.”

He pointed out that taxi services have been digitalised to a level that is practically non-existent anywhere else in the world. “All of the companies have the web applications, all of the drivers have them, they have the option of card payments, they have tracking – in short, everything that a modern taxi should have. But now, a Minister has come to power that does not even know what we already have and has not talked to us at all. Nobody wanted to talk to us,” Jefim said, adding that they were completely ignored. “We wanted to participate in the creation of the new legislation because we are the true experts here. In other countries where we are present, we help write laws, but here, they are being written by someone who is not present in the market – and that is Uber. I have some personal experience with them, as I have worked for two years for their local provider in Moscow, and that was precisely what I was doing – researching Uber and Bolt. I have also done this in South Africa and have very good data on it,” he said, adding that the main complaint was that Uber offers precarious work – if someone, for example, gets a bad rating, their rights might be revoked.

He also lobbied the opposition
Given that Jefim himself has spoken openly about what his work includes, it is not at all surprising that he is so ardently opposing Minister Jernej Vrtovec and is even making accusations, saying that SDS member Mark Boris Andrijanič is behind the new legislation, as he is employed by Uber in Poland. In addition, Jefim also lobbied the opposition, even though he is not a registered lobbyist. However, judging by his posts on social networks, it seems that he also supports the anti-government protests which recently took place in Maribor. Jefim also commented on Minister Vrtovec’s announcement, writing: “The vast majority of Slovenian citizens support early elections!”

Požar pointed out that the reason for Jefim’s fear is money. “All of Jefim’s private business operations are directly linked to the existing structure of the taxi services in the country and across the Balkans, and it is particularly interesting how Jefim skilfully interweaves his role of a supposedly moral trade unionist, who is allegedly worried about the jobs of the taxi drivers and their families, with his own private business, which apparently dictates that he must get rid of any competition, especially Uber. In other words, Jefim makes money by selling his products to taxi drivers, who he also leads as the trade unionist, and now he is asking the state to ban his competition too?!” Požar was critical.

Jefim announced a lawsuit against Požar
The article that Bojan Požar published yesterday has apparently caused quite a stir. Požar said that he was surprised by the high number of insults, the primitivism and accompanying bizarre political labels, which were directed at him in posts on social media, published by Jefim and a group of (non) trolls who, according to him, are obviously connected and work together. “But we could not have foreseen that even threats of public violence would follow?!” Požar was critical, as he revealed, among other things, that Jefim also announced a so-called tactical lawsuit against the Požareport web portal.

Employees at the web portal Požareport believe that with his recent actions, Jefim is trying to mitigate the consequences of the revelations from the article and further reporting. “Well, according to what is written in the article, this kind of lawsuit is, of course, doomed to failure in advance. We already have too much experience with this, so the whole thing will probably stop with only the announcement of a lawsuit. However, due to threats of violence, we already submitted a written notice (complaint) against the (unknown) perpetrator to the General Police Administration, as we do not intend to tolerate such actions any longer.”

“Yesterday’s story also revealed another, completely undisguised violent image: when the president of the Taxi Drivers’ Union and entrepreneur Jefim likes a publicly posted threat of castrating a journalist..?” Požar wrote on social networks. Among other things, Jefim also responded to Požar in the comment, writing: “When you threaten, slander and insult, and then someone reveals family transfers from the state, they usually behave in the same hysterical way you are behaving no, Mr. Požar. Use your head the next time and perhaps this will not happen to you anymore.” Požar then responded to Jefim, writing: “… and at the same time, he himself publishes false claims and justifies threats of violence. In other words: do not write about it, and bad things will not happen to you…”

Judging by the reactions on social networks, many people were upset because of the revelation of the connections between trade unionism and private business, which were published by Požar. And the most important revelation – some are even willing to use threats and violence in their fight against the competition.

Sara Kovač

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