St Albans taxi drivers set to strike for 24 hours
- Credit: Archant
St Albans taxis are planning on striking for 24 hours come Friday, the result of growing tensions over separate ranks.
Late night revellers could see themselves stranded as taxis on St Peter’s Street take industrial action from 6am Friday to 6am Saturday.
The strike comes as a result of months of disagreement over a separate ‘feeder’ rank that is used late Friday and Saturday nights.
Taxi drivers have found that the separation of the rank, which usually works as one, disrupts the fair queuing system they prefer.
Mudassar Yasin, general secretary of the St Albans and Harpenden Taxi Association (SAHTA), said: “The tensions are getting too much and separating the ranks has put our queuing system into jeopardy.
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“It doesn’t make sense. We said from day one that we could envisage problems and they happened.
“We’re hoping that the strike will make the council hear our requests. We do a very important job at the weekend.”
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With the police and stewards quick to shift drunken clubbers into a safe cab home, the queuing system also brings safety concerns for taxi drivers.
Mudassar said they have no time to judge whether passengers are safe to pick up: “You have 200-300 people come out of the club at the same time. We are parking up and intoxicated people are being put in our car straight away. As a taxi driver we want to know what our customers are like. We need time to gauge what concerns there are.”
Friday could also see a demonstration of up to 100 taxi drivers at St Albans council as part of the protest.
SAHTA has spent six weeks in the council complaint process, but hope that the strike will spur on changes.
Council lead of legal services Mike Lovelady said: “We are aware of various issues raised by St Albans and Harpenden Taxi Association and have invited the chair of the association to meet with us to discuss these.
“The rank concerned was created outside Subway in 2012 at the request of the Hertfordshire Constabulary. This was to help counter public order and safety issues.
“Before the rank became operational, there was a consultation and no objections or comments were received from the taxi drivers.”