Saturday, July 02 2016

Cardiff taxi drivers threaten strike over racist violence

  The Institute of Race Relations reports that taxi drivers in Cardiff are threatening a mass strike in protest against the “routine racist abuse and violence” they face and the “indifference by the police and local council”.

From IRR:

“According to the chairman of the Cardiff Hackney Association (CHA), Mathab Khan, 731 CHA members could walk out next Friday, amid claims police do not respond quickly enough to the continuous attacks, violence and damage to their cars that drivers face. Cabbies are 'dreading' the weeks over Christmas, Khan says, and have dubbed 23 December - the day of the potential strike action - as 'Black Friday'.

“Taxi drivers often ply their trade in conditions which render them vulnerable to abuse. They are alone; their peak working hours are late at night; they are at the whim of those they are transporting and, often, they are outnumbered when violence takes place. The potential strike in Cardiff embodies concerns about all violence in the upcoming Christmas period. But the risks of racist attacks are highest.”

Research published by the IRR last year found that taxi drivers are frequent targets of racial violence. The article highlights a number of deaths which have occurred in recent years as a result of aggressive racist attacks including beatings and stabbings by individuals and groups.

“Responding to the proposed strike action, a spokeswoman for South Wales police argued that all incidents of abuse and violence against taxi drivers are investigated thoroughly in Cardiff.

“Faced with ongoing risks of violence, taxi drivers throughout the UK are beginning to organise. In June last year, between seventy and eighty taxi drivers in Cardiff said they would refuse to work on the day of a rally by the Welsh Defence League.

“In Huddersfield, almost 3,000 drivers went on strike a few years ago in protest against racial violence, in Coventry, some 600 cabbies did the same and in 2009, in Birmingham, 200 drivers attended a meeting expressing anger at the local council's inadequate response to attacks. The strike next week, if it goes ahead, will continue this trajectory.”

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