25 April 2016
RMT Press Office
RMT Newcastle taxi drivers launch fight over rip-off permit charges from Virgin East Coast
RMT taxi drivers in Newcastle have launched a major fight with one of the UK’s biggest train operators, Virgin East Coast, over rip-off permit charges that the union says could force members out of their jobs.
RMT drivers held an extraordinary meeting on Thursday to discuss a campaign of action against Virgin, including direct action, to stop this attack on the trade.
The taxi drivers anger is focused on the jacking up the cost of a permit to ply for hire on the short stay car park outside Newcastle Central Station. The new Virgin permit is priced at £2,030 per year- more than the cost of a train station permit in Leicester, Birmingham and Preston combined.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said that over 130 drivers angry RMT driver attended a meeting on Thursday to discuss their next steps in the campaign.
He said: “Our members are being exploited by Virgin – a wealthy global corporation - with hard working taxi drivers being expected cough up excess of £2,000. That is one of the highest permit prices in the country and is nothing short of extortionate.
“Drivers in Newcastle are paying considerably more than in Leicester, Birmingham and Preston combined where the price of a permit is £675. All of this fits in with a national trend to try and rob taxi drivers through rip-off fees at a time when the trade is already under severe pressure from cowboy operations like Uber and lightly-regulated private hire outfits who get away with breaking the rules and using the short-term car parks free of charge. It is a scandal that threatens the livelihoods of our members.
“RMT will stand up for our taxi-driver members and the union is currently taking seeking legal advice and will consider direct action if that is what it takes. We remain available for serious and meaningful talks.”
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Tagged with: Newcastle, Taxi, Virgin East Coast
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