Leeds taxi strike: Everything you need to know about row over Leeds Council regulations

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Taxi drivers across Leeds have been striking this week as part of an ongoing dispute regarding newly introduced regulations.

The strike took place yesterday (Monday) as drivers made their voices heard.

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Here's everything you need to know.

The strike took place yesterday (Monday) as drivers made their voices heard. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.The strike took place yesterday (Monday) as drivers made their voices heard. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
The strike took place yesterday (Monday) as drivers made their voices heard. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

What happened?

Drivers of Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation (LPHDO) called for the protest against the council's Suitability and Convictions policy.

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The policy was implemented in 2020 with many feeling that their views have since fallen on death ears.

Why are they unhappy?

Drivers feel that the fresh legislation unfairly prejudices against them.

One main area of anger is that drivers can face bans and loss of licence, without any verification, should a customer complain.

This policy in particular has faced backlash with drivers arguing that they quite often have to deal with drunk and unpleasant customers.

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Drivers have similarly been left confused by inconsistent rules with Leeds based drivers held to different standards than drivers travelling into Leeds to work.

What are the drivers saying?

Speaking to the YEP LPHDO Vice Chairman Zahir Mahmood expressed his feeling that cab drivers are taken for granted:

"We are being taken for granted but the problem in Leeds is the council and the regulator can get away with anything while the taxi driver can't get away with even a minor thing.

"If I have an argument on the road with someone and they make a complaint against me then I get suspended straight away without any follow up.

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"We are dealing with drunkards and people who have been taking drugs they get in our car and we are on the front line. Some can become really quite nasty but if we say one thing back then we are held to account. Are we just supposed to let a customer do what they want?"

What are the council saying?

In a statement released prior to strike action Leeds City Council deputy leader Coun Debra Coupar said:

“We have been made aware of the proposed strike action on Monday by the Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation (LPHDO). Our priority is to minimise the impact of this proposed action especially on vulnerable adults and children as much as we can, and to make sure everyone who may be affected is aware of the situation and any potential disruption, with solutions being identified where possible.

“We would ask the Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation (LPHDO) to reconsider their planned action, and continue their dialogue with us over the proposed accumulation of minor motoring convictions criterion of the suitability policy in order to achieve a positive outcome for all parties.”

What's next and is more strike action planned?

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On writing their is currently no planned future strike action.

LPHDO Vice Chairman Zahir Mahmood has warned, however, that action will continue until the issue is resolved.

"It will continue until they sit down and actually listen to us." he said "We have been in dialogue and are starting to sound like a broken record now. Three years later and unfortunately nothing's been done. This council has let us down."

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