Birmingham taxi protests halt for talks with licensing officials

Relationship between taxi drivers and police improves following claim of “harassment” last week

Black taxi drivers have called a temporary stop to their daily go-slow protests in Birmingham claiming that city council officials will now hold more meaningful talks over the new Clean Air Zone. Last week Taxi union RMT also wrote to police chiefs demanding an end to the “harassment” of drivers involved in Birmingham protests.

Raja Amin, president of the the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union Midlands regional council, is set to meet with local licensing chiefs on tomorrow morning.

The RMT official also suggested relations between taxi drivers and the police had improved after claims of harassment surfaced. Just last week Mr Amin wrote to the police saying: “I am writing to you to raise concerns about reports I have received from RMT members in the Birmingham taxi service relating to the policing of their protests in Birmingham city centre. “As you know, our members have been engaged in protest action in Birmingham as a consequence of the city council’s failure to meaningfully negotiate over the introduction of the Clean Air Zone and taxi emissions policy, a policy which, if poorly implemented, risks seriously damaging the livelihoods of our taxi driver members. “I’m concerned by reports that I’ve received from our members that the way these protests are being policed has left them feeling intimidated and worried for their futures. Some of our members are reporting that officers have threatened them with points on their licences or notices for obstruction without any documentary notices being issued. Others are saying that officers have been verbally aggressive with them. “RMT’s protests are public knowledge. We’ve made no secret of them, neither are our members driving dangerously or without due care or attention. We entirely respect the duty of the police to ensure that the traffic in the city flows but this should apply to all drivers and I see no reason why our members should be made to feel intimidated or singled out for ‘going slow’. “The city council has the power to end these protests today by sitting down with our members and negotiating meaningfully over the this issue. Until that happens I would ask that you ensure that these protests are policed in a way that does not leave our members feeling singled out or intimidated for their action and which does not unnecessarily inflame the situation." 

Image: dimitrisvetsikas1969

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