Glasgow’s licensed taxi drivers are the latest to call on the Scottish Government to put in place plans to support the industry should the latest coronavirus restrictions impact the sector.
Trade officials have urged the Scottish Cabinet Secretary, Kate Forbes, to include the industry in any support package being put in place after concerns around the Omicron variant rise.
In Scotland all household contacts of any confirmed COVID-19 case must isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status - even if they initially get a negative PCR test.
People are also being urged to defer work Christmas parties to slow the spread of the virus.
A spokesperson from Unite Glasgow Cab Section said: “Ominous signs for hospitality, leisure and travel due to Omicron variant. It is vital for the ongoing recovery, indeed survival of the taxi industry, that Kate Forbes include our trade in any financial support that may be forthcoming.”
The new isolation requirement and advice have been introduced following a rapid rise in case numbers and on the back of a Scottish Government evidence paper outlining the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant.
Speaking on the new restrictions put in place, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “As the evidence paper makes clear, we are facing a renewed and very severe challenge in the shape of the Omicron variant.
“The much greater and faster transmissibility of this new variant means we may be facing a potential tsunami of infections.
“We must do all we can to break transmission chains, which is why we are acting now by changing isolation requirements and giving advice on work Christmas parties.
“I know that more restrictions could cause significant health, social and economic harms, especially after almost two years of this pandemic. But abiding by the new measures gives us the best chance of minimising further restrictions.”
Officials from Scotland’s private hire driver union have also expressed their concerns. A spokesperson from ADCU Scotland said: “The cancelling of Christmas parties and strong suggestions for more to work from home again is having a knock on effect, unsurprisingly, on the Private Hire and Taxi Trade.
“If situation worsens then drivers and ops may need government support again. While ADCU represent private hire drivers and couriers, we are calling on Kate Forbes and Nicola Sturgeon to ensure that an appropriate level of funding is in place for all workers in precarious employment if further restrictions are to come.
“We hope this thread of Tweets will be proved to be a knee-jerk panic reaction, however in event that the trade begins to suffer then you may consider this early notice that ADCU Scotland will be banging at your doors again to ensure drivers are looked after.”