Unite Scotland taxi driver members are to hold a ‘mobile demonstration’ at the Scottish Parliament today to coincide with a meeting of the Rural Affairs and Connectivity Committee.
Dozens of Unite taxi drivers are expected to converge around the Scottish Parliament at 11.30am to protest over the lack of Scottish Government support in contrast with other public transportation industries such as the bus and rail networks.
Last week, Unite Scotland released findings from a survey involving more than 200 taxi drivers across Scotland which showed that 30% of drivers have been unable to access any financial help from government support schemes and around 80% of taxi drivers have lost up to three quarters of their usual incomes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unite Scotland is also demanding clarity and the urgent release of the £19million promised by the Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes MSP, last week, and a commitment that continued support will be available until we return to normality.
The Scottish taxi union have been proposing a series of measures to help support the trade and taxi drivers, which includes:
A dedicated scheme providing grant support to self-employed/full time taxi drivers.
The suspension of licensing fees that are payable to local councils for the next 12 months.
The Scottish Government to engage directly with finance companies to negotiate a reduction in increased debt due to payment holidays.
Access to NHS mental health services to support drivers.
Unite Scottish Secretary, Pat Rafferty, said: “The mobile protest outside the Scottish Parliament is designed to raise awareness over the plight of taxi drivers across our nation. It’s estimated that there are around 36,000 tax drivers across Scotland with the majority of them having dramatic cuts in their income with around a third having had access to no government support at all. We need urgent clarification and the release of the promised support from last week and a commitment to continue to support the trade.”