At Cab Direct we were surprised to hear that a large group of taxi drivers in West Yorkshire are set to go on strike for a few days this month. Drivers from Wakefield are unhappy with the recent changes to taxi trade industry rules and feel they have no choice but to strike to make their point to local councillors.
Yorkshire cabbies staged their first protest on Monday 3rd February, staying home from 6 am to 6 pm. The team were led by local driver Wajid Ali, who hopes that about one-third of the drivers in the district is going to take part. This could mean up to 500 drivers, which would be a massive disruption to passengers in the area.
The group hope that their actions will prompt changes to the new policies that have recently been introduced by Wakefield council. These include the introduction of stickers to identify licensed vehicles, which the Council believe will help identify licensed taxis thus increasing safety but which cabbies believe could encourage vandalism to their vehicles – something which was seen when a similar initiative was brought in to neighbouring Leeds council. In this area, several cars with the new stickers experienced attacks from bricks and stones.
Another policy regards the movement to encourage taxi drivers to purchase electric or hybrid cars when they are looking to buy a taxi, which are far more expensive to purchase. Mr Ali commented that pushing cabbies towards electric cars in fact conflicted with another rule that doesn’t allow cabs in Wakefield to have tinted windows – which many electric vehicles have!
Of course, striking massively affects the livelihood of these taxi drivers, however, at this stage, they feel that they have no choice. Wajid explained “We’re going to stay home and we won’t be taking calls. We’re deadly serious. He then added, “As much as the council might like to think they’ve got everything in place, they’re not listening.”
Future strike dates
The drivers involved in the strike are set to protest again between 10th February and 17 February – but this time will act between 7 pm and 9 am, which will maximise the disruption and dramatically affect the night time trade which relies heavily on taxis.
A representative from Wakefield Council, Glynn Humphries commented to the news: “We are committed to working with drivers and championing passenger safety on behalf of residents. She also added: “We are aware that a new group is proposing strike action and we will continue to work with the Association to help mitigate any impact this may have.”
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