Throngs of Cardiff taxi drivers descended on the city’s County Hall today (4 December) in protest at their treatment by the local council.
Unite taxi members were protesting over the council’s lack of action over ‘cross-bordering’ by taxi drivers coming into the city to work from other areas.
As a result it has become almost impossible for many taxi drivers to make a living from driving, with the vast majority’s remuneration being well below the minimum wage.
There are also other significant issues which Cardiff city council has responsibility for that are of serious concern for Unite members, including the implementation of Euro 6 vehicle emissions compliance for taxis by 2021.
This means that older taxis have to be replaced with greener vehicles with little financial assistance.
In addition the implementation of the council’s “fit and proper driver criteria” is discriminating to Cardiff drivers because it is not being implemented universally across Wales.
If the council continue to ignore the taxi drivers plight, they are planning to engage in an escalating series of protests in the coming months, Unite said.
Unite Wales regional secretary Peter Hughes said, “The council must recognise that due to the high numbers of taxis operating within the city, alongside the significant regulations they have introduced, there is enormous pressure on taxi drivers, most of whom are working extremely long hours for a pitiful remuneration.
“Cardiff council has a moral obligation to listen and act upon the concerns that our members are raising. It is time for the council to take these grievances seriously and engage in meaningful and sustained dialogue with Unite in order to finally resolve these festering issues.”
The protesters were joined at the demonstration by Labour and Co-op parliamentary candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth, Stephen Doughty.
He said, “I’ve been backing our local taxi drivers for many years in their fight for fair play and a level playing field for drivers in Cardiff.
“They work incredibly hard on low incomes and are a crucial part of our transport infrastructure. They have my full and continued support for urgent action at all levels to address their concerns.”