Driver walkout at Leeds Bradford Airport taxi firm

WALKOUT: Arrow taxi drivers.

WALKOUT: Arrow taxi drivers.

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Scores of drivers staged a walkout of Leeds-Bradford Airport’s private hire taxi provider after 11 colleagues were suspended.

Drivers from Arrow taxis went on strike claiming it was over a row about the amount of commission the firm charges them on airport jobs and the “high” base rent.

Several drivers were also banned from the firm’s offices in Horsforth as a result of growing tensions.

However, the firm blamed internal politics and allegations of disruptive behaviour, and one manager told the YEP: “Enough is enough”.

At the airport yesterday, there were scenes of chaos as striking drivers parked their cars on the main road and blocked much of it.

Eyewitnesses described groups of passengers looking “stranded”. Police were also called to a protest at the firm’s Horsforth base but no action was taken.

Karl Thackray, fleet manager for Arrow, confirmed the company had “sacked 11 drivers” for disruptive behaviour and had closed the area where they get together.

“We have to tackle this,” he said. “Our commission hasn’t changed for four years and it’s the same as any other business.

“We make a gross commission of less than 30 percent – not outrageous and less than Gatwick airport or Southampton or Bristol. Our pricing is also very simple and [drivers] receive a mileage rate.”

“The firm is working normally,” he added. “We will have issues but there comes a point when you say enough is enough is enough,.”

Tahir Hamid, one of the drivers on strike, said: “The toilets have been closed and we have been banned from the holding area. We are being treated like rubbish. Nobody has done anything wrong.”

Mr Hamid claimed the drivers’ committee had tried to talk to managers but had been rebuffed.

Meanwhile, commentators watched the developments with interest, as the row comes just days before a council scrutiny panel reports its findings on a much-debated case for a new taxi rank at the airport.

A tweet from Leedscabsection said: “Lbia private hire on strike. Stranded passengers today. Great news for executive meeting Feb 10th. Rank to be decided finally. Great news.”

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