Saturday, December 05, 2015

RMT Taxi driver's protest causes more Friday night chaos

      Taxis driving slowly on London Road

Taxis caused further Friday night traffic chaos in Leicester as more than 80 took part in a go-slow protest around the city centre.

The cabs set off from Victoria Park on London Road at 4.30pm before heading down to the inner ring road and along Belgrave Gate and Charles Street.

They were protesting over a new Leicester City Council scheme that gives drivers points for offences like illegal parking and not wearing their name badges. The points can lead to them losing their licences.

While motorists stuck in traffic sounded their horns to express their feelings about the slow-moving taxis, few pedestrians had much love for the RMT union members either.

Clive Atkinson, 45, who was watching the cabs pass slowly by the Hind pub opposite Leicester Station, said: "They're causing mayhem for people who have homes to go to and children to pick up and it's not right.

"It's just causing misery."

His friend Paul Williams, 43, said: "It's ridiculous. It's the third time they've done it an it just causes chaos and achieves nothing."

Debbie Taylor, 53, of Clarendon Park, who was walking home up London Road as the protest began, said: "They're going to cause a lot of congestion and maybe make themselves feel better but I don't think it will have any affect in the long term."

Ahead of the protest, Umar Khan, Leicestershire and Rutland RMT branch secretary, said the cabbies had no choice.

He said: "At the end of the day we have to protest because our members livelihoods are being put at risk.

"The city council wants us to spend £6,000 on having new taxis but they won't provide the ranks for us all.

"Now they want to give us points for stopping where we shouldn't and for not wearing name badges."

City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby confirmed he would not back down and scrap the new scheme.

He said: "The taxi drivers seem determined to cause inconvenience to the people of Leicester and put their privileges at risk.

"It is interesting to note there were only 85 taxis participating - far fewer than the 275 limit set by the police.

"That demonstrates the majority of the hackney carriage drivers have got the message.

"I say again there is absolutely no chance of there being any negotiations with the RMT on this. None at all."

Sir Peter had threatened to strip the hackney drivers of privileges, such as use of bus lanes and restrictions on the number of licences issued, if they protested again.

However he said he had yet to decide whether he would enact that threat.

He said: "I will have to think about it on Monday.

"I need to find a balance between the majority of drivers who have got the message and are not protesting and my annoyance at those who are persisting with these futile protests."


Anonymous said...

Power pissed little tin god. Take your privilidges away... Is he a former prison governor ?

Damian said...

Agreed. Punishing protesters! That's the thin end of the wedge. That comment makes me want to pop up to Leicester one night and help them out