Taxi drivers set to protest over 'saturation of market'

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Leeds and Yorkshire taxi drivers are to stage protests against the "saturation" of unlicensed private hire vehicles and out of town minicabs.

The GMB union said demonstrations will be held on Tuesday in cities including London, Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds, Brighton and York.

The union claimed many towns and cities resembled the "wild west" at weekends because of an over-capacity in the market.

Pay has been cut and drivers are being forced to work longer hours, often in areas where they are not licensed, said the GMB.

National officer Mick Rix said: "The vast majority of drivers in the trades of both taxi and minicabs are professional drivers, and operate strictly in accordance with their licensing requirements.

"However, because of the huge surge in licences being issued there is now over-capacity, where drivers are being encouraged by their operators to work hundreds of miles from where they are licensed.

"Many operators are refusing to recognise the safety risks they are placing on drivers due to excessive hours working.

"There is no national database for drivers, operators or enforcement officers. Unfortunately the Government does not recognise there is a problem, which in the main is of their making."

The union is calling for local taxi and minicab services to be protected, and an end to illegal touting for business.

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