More strikes as taxi drivers clash with council over new policy

PUBLISHED: 12:26 14 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:43 06 May 2010

AN ONGOING feud between St Albans District Council and the city s taxi drivers could have repercussions for Christmas cab customers. Licensed taxi drivers in St Albans first took action at the beginning of last month, when they refused to operate within

AN ONGOING feud between St Albans District Council and the city's taxi drivers could have repercussions for Christmas cab customers.

Licensed taxi drivers in St Albans first took action at the beginning of last month, when they refused to operate within St Albans city centre on a Saturday night.

The strike was provoked by new licensing laws that the council issued at the end of September, including a six-point rule which states that those employed in the trade can have only a maximum of six penalty points on their licence to operate legally.

Terence Flanagan, secretary of the driver's branch of trade union GMB, said that he was shocked that there had been no progress on the issue since October's strike.

He added: "It's just crazy - the council are refusing to try to meet us in the middle so we have to step up the severity of our actions. It's probable that there will be a complete shutdown over the Christmas period."

St Albans and Harpenden licensed taxi drivers will be striking at various unannounced moments throughout the festive period, although they have revealed that two of the strikes will be today (Friday) and Monday, November 17.

But a spokesperson for the district council said that the district's taxi drivers had misunderstood the new licensing laws and added: "The policy clearly states that where an applicant has six or more penalty points on their driving licence, the officer will usually consider granting the licence with a written warning."

Harpenden East Cllr Alison Steer added: "We normally have a good relationship with our taxi drivers and we greatly appreciate the excellent work they carry out in the city and district. I am very saddened by they proposed strikes and feel they are being misled by the GMB Union.

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CountryPhile

I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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