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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:00 am 
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Taxi drivers plan city centre demonstration outside Wakefield One building as row with council deepens

https://www.wakefieldexpress.co.uk/news ... ns-3024139

Taxi drivers are planning to hold a demonstration in Wakefield next week, as long-running tensions with the council intensify.

Members of the Wakefield Drivers Association (WDA) say they will protest in a socially distanced manner outside the Wakefield One building on Burton Street in the city centre next Tuesday at 11am.

Cabbies are at odds with the council over a number of issues, including the local authority's demand they switch to new low-emission vehicles by the end of next March.

The WDA says that would put drivers £10,000 out of pocket because of the cost of the new cars, and are arguing for an extension to the deadline.

The council however, has indicated that it's unwilling to talk to the WDA, which was formed earlier this year.

Instead it only recognises a separate and more established organisation, the Wakefield and District Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Association, representing local taxi drivers. They are not planning to protest.

WDA spokesman Wajid Ali said: "This pandemic is going to last well into 2021 and many drivers haven't been able to work this year. The year's been a write off for us.

"The council's asking us to spend £10,000 on changing our vehicles when we haven't got the finances to do that.

"All we're asking for is for them to wait until we're back to some kind of normality before they make these changes. It's not going to cost them any money to do that.

"We're just asking them to take a common sense approach.

Mr Ali said the WDA had recruited around 400 members and that as many as 200 could take part in the protest next week.

The council said it was expecting only a "small" number of drivers to turn out.

Mr Ali added: "We did organise this protest before Boris Johnson announced the new lockdown, but we will still go ahead with it and we will be socially distanced from each other.

"We are frontline key workers and this is part of our job because this is about standing up for our working conditions.

"Drivers are very angry but we'd like to hold out the hand of friendship to the council and reignite some dialogue with them.

"We're not monsters. We're not going to bite. We're mere mortals simply wanting to work like everybody else."

Relations between the local authority and the trade have been strained for a number of years.

A year ago, cabbies decisively won a lengthy High Court battle against the council's decision to hike the price of a taxi licence fee to cover the costs of running its enforcement team.

And this summer the council was criticised for refusing to allow drivers to put screens up in their own vehicles as a Covid protection measure.

Commenting on the demonstration, the council's service director for communities, Antony Sadler, said: "The council is aware that a small group of drivers are planning to protest.

"The council meet regularly with the recognised trade association - the Wakefield and District Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Association, who represent a large number of the trade in the district. The Wakefield and District Private Hire Association have no plans to take part in the protest.”


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:15 am 
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The council however, has indicated that it's unwilling to talk to the WDA, which was formed earlier this year.

Instead it only recognises a separate and more established organisation, the Wakefield and District Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Association, representing local taxi drivers. They are not planning to protest.

Everyone has the right to be heard in this country, even folks that disagree with the status quo.

If this new drivers group has an opinion they should be heard. Doesn't mean their view will win the day, but they shouldn't be ignored.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 7:20 pm 
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Wakefield taxi driver protest halted after West Yorkshire Police say organisers could face £10,000 lockdown fines

A planned demonstration by taxi drivers next week has been called off after police said it would break lockdown laws.

Local cabbies had planned to protest outside the Wakefield One building on Burton Street on Tuesday, November 10, following a row with the council over new vehicle rules.

The Wakefield Drivers Association (WDA), who organised the demonstration, had initially said they believed it would be legal because taxi drivers are key workers and they insisted it would be carried out in a socially distanced manner.

But police said organisers would risk being slapped with a £10,000 fine if it went ahead as planned.

The WDA now plans to hold the rally next month after lockdown restrictions are lifted again.

A spokesman for the association said they "didn't want to risk breaking the law", but said the event had been postponed rather than cancelled.

A number of drivers are at odds with the local authority, who want cabbies to switch to new low-emission vehicles by March.

The drivers say many of them are unable to afford the cost of doing so after the trade was badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:44 pm 
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'Moral victory' for taxi drivers as Wakefield Council agrees to delay new car rules

Taxi drivers have hailed a "moral victory" after winning major concessions from Wakefield Council in a row over new cars.

Local cabbies had been expected to purchase a specific type of low-emission vehicle before March next year because of the council's green drive.

But some in the trade said they were unable to afford the switch, with the vehicles costing up to £10,000, because of the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on their finances.

A protest by one group, the Wakefield Drivers Association (WDA), had been planned over the issue before lockdown forced it to be postponed.

Now the council has agreed to give cabbies until September 2022 to buy the new vehicles.

Waj Ali, spokesman for the WDA, welcomed the news.

"We've been pushing for this change for years, so this is a really big deal for us," he said.

"It's a moral victory for the trade and we're glad the council seem to have listened to what we've said.

"They've held out the hand of friendship and it's the fair thing to do."

The council has also agreed to relax complex and strict rules regarding how tinted the windows of local taxis must be.

A licensing meeting on Wednesday was told drivers were struggling to buy the new vehicles the council wanted them to, because most of them had glass that was too dark to meet the current requirements.

The local authority has agreed to loosen those requirements, but insisted that passengers will still be visible from outside the vehicles and public safety will not be compromised.

Committee chair Coun Martyn Johnson said he sympathised with taxi drivers and added that the impact of Brexit and the possibility of new tariffs being applied to imported cars may also present more problems for the trade.

"There's a cost to buying these new vehicles and the drivers haven't had a lot of work in the last eight to 10 months," he told the meeting.

"Covid is still going on and we've got Brexit coming too. There may be more issues which will restrict drivers from getting a new vehicle before March."

A separate union of local taxi drivers, the Wakefield and District Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Association, also welcomed the extension.

The group's chairman, Abdul Rehman, said: "The association would like to thank the council for the work they have done in researching this matter and coming to the decision they did.

"This will be good not only for the trade but for the travelling public of Wakefield."

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:07 pm 
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Usually when there are two drivers organisations one represents the trade the other a section of it with different agendas. Our council won't engage with us at all because we have no association but it's impossible to unite the trade behind one organisation as drivers all form cliques and each clique wants it to represent them and what they want as opposed to the whole trade.

It would be interesting to ask why there are two trade organisations in one small city

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:14 pm 
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It could be WDA represents drivers while the other one is mainly proprietor/driver.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:23 pm 
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edders23 wrote:
Usually when there are two drivers organisations one represents the trade the other a section of it with different agendas. Our council won't engage with us at all because we have no association but it's impossible to unite the trade behind one organisation as drivers all form cliques and each clique wants it to represent them and what they want as opposed to the whole trade.

It would be interesting to ask why there are two trade organisations in one small city

Try setting up a whatsApp just for drivers just for taxis

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:29 am 
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Sussex wrote:
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The council however, has indicated that it's unwilling to talk to the WDA, which was formed earlier this year.

Instead it only recognises a separate and more established organisation, the Wakefield and District Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Association, representing local taxi drivers. They are not planning to protest.

Everyone has the right to be heard in this country, even folks that disagree with the status quo.

If this new drivers group has an opinion they should be heard. Doesn't mean their view will win the day, but they shouldn't be ignored.

A few years ago when I formed the Melton Mowbray Taxi Drivers Association the first thing the Council wanted from me before agreeing to accept us as a trade body was a copy of the association constitution. They would only accept representations from a drivers association if they were properly constituted. One was quickly drawn up and the Council were happy. Individual drivers could still make representations.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:36 am 
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edders23 wrote:
Usually when there are two drivers organisations one represents the trade the other a section of it with different agendas. Our council won't engage with us at all because we have no association but it's impossible to unite the trade behind one organisation as drivers all form cliques and each clique wants it to represent them and what they want as opposed to the whole trade.

It would be interesting to ask why there are two trade organisations in one small city

Apparently the council area covers some 350,000 people. Main town is Wakefield, but also includes smaller towns like Castleford and Pontefract.

Had a look at the figures last night, and think there's something like 1,600 badges and 1,100 plated cars. So hardly a surprise there's more than one organisation. Dundee has had several, including the main, most longstanding body, and the chap who heads that is reguarly quoted in the press. Unite also have a significant presence, and its leader is also regularly quoted. I think Unite organised the NVQ or whatever the qualification is in Dundee. GMB also had a presence, although I'm not sure if that's still around.

There was also a WAV assocation formed when WAVs were required for new HC plates, and it was regularly quoted for years, but not sure if it's still around.

So hardly a surprise there's two associations covering nearly twice the population in Wakefield. And Dundee is quite discrete as a city, so no geographical complications as I'm sure there are with Wakefield's several towns and areas.

And Wajid Ali of the new WDA is often quoted in the press re Wakefield. Recall that he was part of the old organisation that won the fees battle in the High Court a couple of years ago.

But he's obviously fallen out with them. Recall earlier this year he threatened a strike, which was then called off, but it looked like a new organisation then that was called Wakefield United, and I suspect this new WDA resulted from that.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=35377

But obviously he's been having problems getting official recognition from the council, as Grandad alludes.

But I recall reading stuff about him in the past, and pretty sure he stood for Parliment in 2017 as an independent, but got nowhere.

That was for the Wakefield constituency, but I think he stood for the neighbouring Hemsworth constituency in 2019, for the Brexit Party :-o and got a few thousand votes.

At least, I think that's the same guy.

But in view of that, and the trade stuff, he's obviouslsy quite, er, active as regards both national and trade politics.

Of course, it's maybe all a bit People's Front of Judea/Judean People's Front, sort of thing, but that's hardly unusual in the trade.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:56 pm 
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heathcote wrote:
It could be WDA represents drivers while the other one is mainly proprietor/driver.

Could be something in that. Of course, the older organisation covers HC and PH, while I suspect the WDA is more PH-oriented. But who's to know precisely what the older organisation covers.

Kind of reminds me when I worked in Dundee, and the main organisation was called the taxi *owners* association.

Kind of recall there being a bit of a dispute about that at one point, and I think the name was changed to *owners and drivers*, then maybe just *drivers*. Suspect that originated from the time plate numbers were very tightly controlled, then the council pulled the plug, and eventually *everyone* supposedly had their own plate (slight exaggeration, but certainly more drivers did have their own plate at one point).

Anyway, seems that now it's just called the Dundee Taxi Association.

Not sure precisely who or what it represents, though. It was mainly the saloon plates in the past, but lots of WAVs now, and no new saloon plates issued for thirty years or so :-o

And the offices are mixed fleet, so lots of PHVs alongside the HCs, but not sure if they're also eligible to join the DTA.

Then there was the WAV association, but haven't heard it mentioned for a while. And Unite, GMB blah, blah.

But I suspect many of these associations and unions represent a number of different and often competing interests, when you dig a bit deeper.

A bit like what used to be the NPHA, and it would basically represent the interests of its members, whether or not those interests were in conflict, and of course later it added the word 'taxi' to its name.

On the other hand, I suspect the unions representing Uber drivers in court are just that - they represent Uber *drivers*.

Steve Wright (MBE) and his mob in London, by contrast, simply represent office proprietors, as far as I know.


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