POSTCODE LOTTERY: Support us or more taxi and private hire protests could follow warns Glasgow union
More protests could follow if no additional support is provided to taxi and private hire drivers in Glasgow, warns union.
The Glasgow branch of the App Drivers and Courier Union (ADCU) has today released an open letter to all Glasgow City Councillors following the ‘Go Slow Convoy’ protest held last week on 9 June.
In the three page letter it highlights previous arguments, outlines private hire driver demands and gives early indication that union members are planning to hold a second protest if adequate support is not delivered to the trade.
Despite some help from Scottish Government, taxi and private hire unions have argued that the support offered “falls way short" of what is claimed to be needed to help a vastly struggling industry.
On a national level Kate Forbes, the SNP’s Economy Secretary, recently announced that taxi and private hire drivers would receive a second £1,500 coronavirus support grant from Scottish Government.
Taxi operators will also be contacted by their local authorities and receive tiered grants.
However, the ADCU’s letter to Glasgow City Councillors highlights the ‘postcode lottery’ of support currently being experienced within the taxi industry.
Taxi drivers in Angus have been offered an additional £2,500 in Discretionary Grants. Cabbies from Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Perth have also received an extra £1,000 from their local authorities too.
In Glasgow, no such discretionary payment has been offered to taxi drivers struggling under the COVID restrictions.
On 9 June over 100 drivers met at Glasgow's Springfield Quay before setting off on a slow moving convoy through the city centre, including laps around George Square and the City Chambers, Glasgow's main council headquarters.
Members from ADCU were protesting the low level of support being offered and have been saying "the support is far too little and far too late", and also demanding that "meaningful support be delivered immediately".
Following the protest, Eddie Grice, ADCU Chair of Glasgow Branch, said: "Over 100 private hire and taxi drivers took part in the protest and the message being sent to Glasgow Council and the Scottish Government was crystal clear. Drivers are bitterly disappointed with the level of support being offered and are demanding that more be done to help. It's not just about grant money though.
“We have virtually lost a third of the lifespan of our licences and have also lost a chunk of the lifespan of our vehicles due to the council's age limits on our cars. We are demanding the council to extend the lifespan of private hire cars in Glasgow from 7 to, at least, 10 years and are demanding that the loss on our licence lifespans be mitigated in some way.
“We will not back down until our demands have been met and the survival of our trade has been ensured. Another great thing to see today was the largest showing of solidarity amongst drivers that our trade has ever seen in Scotland.
“This is the most united I have ever seen this industry and it is truly fantastic to witness. I'm really proud of our members after today and I thank them all for showing up in the numbers that they did. Drivers are coming together to fight for better working conditions, better treatment, and an end to exploitative practices in this industry."
Alfie Wellcoat, ADCU Vice-Chair in Glasgow, added: "We've been trying to open a dialogue with the council for the last few months - they've not been listening. Before the election there were six councils, including Edinburgh, paying out anywhere between £1,500 to £2,500 as a top up.
“Some councils are going to be getting three grants and Glasgow is only going to be getting two - that's our main gripe. We're down a lot of money. It's going to take at least a year plus to get back to where we were."