Taxi drivers unions in Andalucia confirm strike action for this weekend

Image of a taxi sign. Credit: Caron Badkin/Shutterstock.com

Strike action has been confirmed by Andalucian taxi drivers this weekend, from 7pm on Friday through to 7am on Monday 26.

 

Miguel Ruano, president of the Andalucian Federation of Self-Employed Taxis (FAAT), confirmed this Thursday, September 22, that taxi drivers will go out on strike this weekend. Specifically, the industrial action will begin at 7pm on Friday, September 23, and end at 7am on Monday 26.

The protest is being called as a measure against the recent regulation prepared by the Andalucian Government to regulate the activity of Transport Vehicles with Drivers (VTC) in urban centres from October 1.

A demonstration was held this Thursday in Sevilla, where a march started from the Olympic Stadium at 10:30am and finished up at the gates of the Andalucian parliament in the city centre. The marchers gathered among a significant police presence, banging drums, blowing whistles, and letting off firecrackers. When they reached the Andalucian chambers it was pelted with eggs.

FAAT is the majority union organisation in the sector, and Thursday’s protest was the third consecutive one. Ruano warned that: “The Board is not negotiating on this matter with anyone: neither with the taxi drivers, not with the rest of the parliamentary groups or with the city councils”. He accused the government of lying.

Ruano pointed out that the taxi sector is defending its future and ‘the users’ so that they have a ‘decent public service’, based on a fixed rate controlled by the municipalities and supervised by the Board. They are ensuring that this economic activity ‘does not pass into the hands of multinationals’, he stressed.

“We don’t want VTCs to disappear, we want users to continue using them if they want, but in a proportional way”, he explained. His objective is that “the taxi sector of a city should not be loaded with an unbalanced proportion”, he added.

Rafael Baena, the president of Elite Taxi in Andalucia, branded what “the Andalucian Government intends to do with the taxi sector’, as ‘treason’. He reproached the ‘staging’ of the Ministry of Development facing public opinion when, according to his belief, ‘there are no negotiations’.

“They sit us down but tell us absolutely nothing. The last meeting was on Tuesday, five hours to say nothing or give us a draft”, lamented Baena. He also complained that they will have to ‘wait until the decree is approved to be able to challenge it’. Baena said he waits for October 1 to arrive for the VTCs to be included in the interurban area and ‘not to infringe on municipal responsibilities’.

The taxi union is also asking for a minimum pre-contract time of at least 15 minutes; compliance with or approximation to the established legal ratio (1/30) or elimination of geolocation, among other aspects.

Earlier this month, the rule prepared by the government proposed that VTCs continue to work in urban centres as of October 1. Requirements still need to be established though for these measures, to guarantee ‘the coexistence of VTCs and taxis for the sake of offering the best service to the citizen’.

In a statement, the Regional Ministry explained at the time that this decree would reinforce inspection, ‘doubling the actions’.

This is an argument that the taxi drivers do not consider possible to be put into practice, as they highlighted earlier this week in statements to Europa Press by Miguel Ruano. “There are no inspectors, nor are the local police interested in the matter, nor do the municipalities provide the means”, to monitor what he calls “daily illegalities” by the VTC, he explained.

As October 1 approaches, the tension between the parties is increasing and this week, Andeval, the Andalucian Association of Vehicle Rental VTC, accused the taxi sector of ‘pressuring the Board with a misleading argument’, so that they are included in the future regulation restrictions that end up making their activity impossible.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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