Taxi anger

They claim too many li­cences are be­ing is­sued

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Jonathan Ged­des

Taxi driv­ers in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang have threat­ened to go on strike if lim­its are not placed on the num­ber of li­censes handed out by the coun­cil.

They say the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion has led to a sat­u­ra­tion of driv­ers which forces them to work long hours.

Driv­ers at a pri­vate taxi firm in Cam­bus­lang have hit out at South La­nark­shire Coun­cil - and could strike if their work sit­u­a­tion does not im­prove.

Cab­bies say the lo­cal au­thor­ity has al­lowed the taxi mar­ket to be over sat­u­rated with driv­ers mean­ing there is not enough work for them to make a de­cent wage.

Cur­rently there is no limit to the num­ber of li­cences that can be is­sued for pri­vate hire cars.

A to­tal of 142 new li­cences were granted for taxi driv­ers in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang alone in 2016 – more than the rest of South La­nark­shire Coun­cil com­bined.

James McNi­col works at Cam­bus­lang’s Zed Cars and be­lieves com­pa­nies are hir­ing so many driv­ers it has be­come im­pos­si­ble to get steady work.

He said: “Many of the driv­ers are so tired of this.

“I’ve spo­ken to more than 60 driv­ers about a strike be­cause this is too much and the re­sponse has been very sup­port­ive.

“Over the last year or so it’s got re­ally bad be­cause there is no limit to the amount of li­cences that can be given out.

“A hun­dred peo­ple could walk into the coun­cil to­mor­row, put in an ap­pli­ca­tion and all of them could then have a taxi badge a month later.

“The bosses will al­ways think that more driv­ers can make them more money. So you’re mak­ing three pounds an hour – we’re work­ing for less the min­i­mum wage.

“There are other driv­ers who are con­cerned at how bad this is get­ting, but it’s like hit­ting a brick wall try­ing to bring this up with any­one.”

Driver, Charles Spiers, has spo­ken to South La­nark­shire Coun­cil reg­u­larly over the years in an at­tempt to get some­thing done.

He said: “What I’ve put to them is who will get the blame if driv­ers crash through fa­tigue?

“I know of guys hav­ing to work 24 hours over a Fri­day and Satur­day just to pay the mort­gage. Older driv­ers in par­tic­u­lar are push­ing them­selves too hard – you’ve got the same amount of jobs but twice the amount of driv­ers.

“They’ve reached a sat­u­ra­tion point and this goes across all the com­pa­nies.

“The most log­i­cal thing would be to make the li­cences non-trans­fer­able and place a limit on them.”

Lisa McPher­son’s fa­ther James worked as a taxi driver for 15 years be­fore pass­ing away two years ago, aged 65. She be­lieves that his health prob­lems were caused be­cause of the hours he was forced to work.

She said: “He worked him­self into the ground and he never had any time off at all. The only time he had off would be when he was go­ing away on hol­i­day, oth­er­wise he’d be work­ing.

“They’re do­ing 12-hour shifts and health wise it’s not safe. Peo­ple al­ways say to put your health first and that’s not hap­pen­ing now.”

Geral­dine McCann, head of ad­min­is­tra­tion and le­gal ser­vices at the coun­cil, said: “The Civic Gov­ern­ment (Scot­land) Act 1982 does not cur­rently per­mit the lim­it­ing of pri­vate hire cars.

“How­ever the Air Weapons and Li­cens­ing (Scot­land) Act 2016 has in­tro­duced a pro­vi­sion, which comes into force later this year, which will give li­cens­ing au­thor­i­ties the abil­ity to refuse pri­vate hire car li­cences on the grounds of over-pro­vi­sion should they deem it ap­pro­pri­ate.”

You’ve got the same amount of jobs but twice the amount of driv­ers

Fed up Taxi driv­ers in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang are call­ing for lim­its to the num­ber of li­cences handed out

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.