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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 April 2009

Stockport cab drivers fight deregulation

While over 100 journalists from local newspapers under threat gathered inside Manchester town hall on a Friday night to discuss the way forward, one in every three of Stockport's black cab drivers circled the building in a show of support. Coincidentally, several hundred 'Critical Mass' environmentalists cycled around the same area, to the bemusement of passers-by!

Hugh Caffrey, Manchester

Stockport Express journalists have supported black cab drivers in the past. Now those journalists are under attack from their employers, on 27 March the cabbies were returning the favour. At the same time, they highlighted how Stockport council threatens their livelihoods with deregulation.

The number of black cabs is fixed by councils, which issue the licenses and a waiting list operates. Stockport council wants to increase the number from 120 to 180 but with still only two taxi ranks.

This will mean overcrowding of the ranks, and a cut in income for all black cab drivers. For the many drivers who are deep in debt from buying and fitting their £30,000+ vehicles, this will be a catastrophic blow. Dave Hulbert, spokesperson for the protesting drivers, told me:

"Tonight we're here in support of the Express, their workers and reporters. In terms of the issue about the council removing the limit on the number of black cabs on the road, the limit is there to make sure everyone has a fair crack of the whip, that there's enough work for everyone.

"There's actually a fare formula, to work out what level of fares are charged, which is linked to the number of vehicles on the road. So if they doubled the number of vehicles, by definition they have to double the fares. So how's that supposed to be supporting the public in any way?"

The council has apparently spent tens of thousands of pounds on three failed court cases against the cab drivers. Why is the council so determined to push this policy through? Why does it want to hammer down the income of black cab drivers? If Stockport council now believes in job creation, as it claims, why is it putting cab drivers out of work? Unemployment is high in Stockport already, and will rise further through 2009.

Now the council has to consult again on this ludicrous policy. They cannot be trusted though. It's not long since they tried to force all black cab drivers to re-paint their cabs green, with the council logo, at a cost to each driver of over £2,000! That crazy scheme failed, and so can this with a sufficient show of strength against it.

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In The Socialist 8 April 2009:

Visteon car workers fight for their rights

Reports from Visteon plants in Belfast, Enfield and Basildon

National Union of Teachers Conference: Call national action on workload


Youth fight for jobs

Youth march for jobs: This is only the beginning!

NUS leaders out of touch


Socialist Party editorial

No solution at London G20 summit

G20 Summit protests: Democratic rights trampled on


Socialist Party feature

The battle to defeat the Poll Tax


Socialist Party campaigns

EU presses for cuts in public spending

Fast news


International socialist news

Stop the slaughter of Tamils in Sri Lanka

Arundhati Roy indicts the Sri Lankan Rajapakse regime

Egyptian regime: 'Scared that independent unions will succeed; scared a revolution will happen'

Solidarity with Kazakhstan oil workers


Socialist Party workplace news

Conned by John Lewis

Stockport cab drivers fight deregulation

No cuts to further education in Wales!

Campaign forces suspension of Wirral library closures

Unison elections

Rail workers fight job cuts


 

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