Cardiff’s taxi and private hire drivers took to the streets to demand action outside the County Hall in Cardiff on Wednesday.
The protest, the first in what could be a series of demonstrations, took place as drivers vented their frustrations, claiming it is now impossible to make a living in the city.
According to driver representatives, remuneration for the vast majority now sits well below the national minimum wage.
Unite the Union called the action and detailed a plethora of issues facing the industry in Cardiff. Problems around the controversial ‘cross-border’ hiring rules and the high costs involved in moving to greener taxis featured highly as concerns.
Senior Cardiff Councillors are now set to sit down and discuss details to resolve taxi drivers concerns on Friday 6 December. If no resolution is found, drivers are set to protest again on Monday 9 December.
A spokesperson from the Unite the Union Cardiff Taxi Branch, said: “Drivers have had enough of the council taking a detrimental approach to licensing policies in Cardiff, which only exacerbates the cross border issue further.
“Some aspects of the new Instituate licencing fitness criteria guidelines, which was introduced on the 5 November this year, has been very harsh and drivers feel they’re being treated unfairly while cross-bordering taxis operating in our area are not under same policy.”
The union added: “With incomes going lower than the minimum wage is pushing drivers to work longer hours, which means more chances of falling foul to the new fitness guidelines.
“Furthermore, drivers feel that the standards in Cardiff are being constantly undermined by taxis working in the city from other neighbouring authorities especially when it comes to darkened glass, which Cardiff refused to allow for their drivers costing thousands of pounds to replace while cross-bordering taxis which operate with darken glass in cardiff.”
On the subject of cleaner taxis and wheelchair accessible vehicles, the Unite spokesperson said: “Moving onto greener vehicles has caused great distress for drivers as not enough time or funding is given to drivers to make that transition."