GMB union are the latest taxi and private hire representatives to call for the sector to be classed as an essential service as the industry struggles under the fuel crisis.
In a letter to the Department for Transport’s Policy Adviser for Buses and Taxis, the union says the industry was only just beginning to recover from lockdown and needs help.
The GMB argue that its members working in private hire sector transport NHS patients, care and local authority workers and provide essential school services.
Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “The private hire industry has been hammered by the pandemic.
“Now just as it begins to recover from the devastating effects of lockdowns, drivers are unable to work because they cannot get fuel.
“These drivers take patients to hospital, take children to school and are often the only way people with disabilities can get around.
“Private hire drivers are on their knees. They need help. We urge the Department for Transport to enable Taxi and Private Hire drivers to be classed an essential service.”
The calls echo those from the Mayor of London, licensed taxi representatives and other private hire leaders all lobbying the Government to ensure the sector is included on any emergency fuel register should the fuel crisis worsen.
On Sunday the UK temporarily suspended fuel industry competition laws in a bid to ease the fuel shortages caused by a lack of HGV drivers. That decision followed the Business Secretary meeting with senior executives from the fuel industry following recent supply chain issues at petrol forecourts in some areas of the UK.
However, shortages in some areas have continued into this week with some cab drivers reportedly forced off the road due to not being able to fill up on fuel despite trying multiple forecourts in the area.
The panic-buying of petrol and diesel prompted London’s black cab industry to request taxis remain on the emergency fuel supply register in the capital should the situation escalate further.