Unite Wales urges government to pay taxi drivers now so they can help during COVID-19 crisis

Unite Wales have urged government to provide taxi drivers COVID-19 support payments now rather than in June.

Last month the union launched a national campaign to get financial aid for taxi and private hire drivers arguing if payments are made now, it would allow drivers to stay on top of their finances and focus can then be put on them supporting emergency services during the crisis.

Taxi drivers have been urging the government to utilise them to assist with the transportation of NHS workers, medicine and food during the coronavirus pandemic, but with no financial income drivers have been left struggling to pull together enough funds to cover their overheads.

In a recent poll conducted by TaxiPoint, 84% of the 408 drivers polled were willing to accept any NHS or government fixed term contract to transport key workers in their area.

A petition has been created to gather public support so that the taxi and private hire industries can in turn help the emergency services.

Alan McCarthy, Regional Officer for Unite in Cardiff, said in a video statement: “Our self-employed taxi drivers have seen their earnings decimated by the COVID-19 crisis. Employees are receiving some relief through the job retention scheme, however, the self-employed are feeling forgotten and left behind.

“They’re being asked to wait until June to see and real financial support from Government and for the majority this is far too long to go without a liveable income.

“Taxi drivers are an at risk group, they want to support the national effort to combat COVID-19 by helping where they can, but they also need to feel comfortable and able to do the right thing at the right time, to self isolate when needed.

“When we say that we want to encourage everybody to do the right thing, what message do we send to them when we say that they must wait over nine weeks for financial relief. Please support Unites campaign to give Taxi drivers the wage support they need now, not in June and sign the Unite petition.”

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