Dewsbury taxi firm issue response statement to drivers strike action
A taxi firm in Dewsbury has provided a response statement to Tuesday and yesterday's drivers strike.
Over one hundred taxi drivers stopped working across Kirklees due to protest according to a drivers union.
It comes after Oakwell & Rex Taxis, on Camroyd Street, Dewsbury, allegedly increased weekly rent rates by £20, which will see it rise to £105 for drivers.
"The pandemic lockdown, as with the rest of the industry, brought a significant decline of both customers and drivers to the company.
"This had a severe financial impact, like it did to most UK businesses.
"The management of the company took the decision to make changes to adapt to the crisis that was thrust upon them, through no fault of their own, and proposed a change to their business model.
"The proposal was in line with other operators throughout the UK, to that of a commission percent of sales, as opposed to a fixed radio rent.
"This model has proved popular with drivers throughout the country where it has been adopted, who recognise it as a fair system without a fixed rent fee, during these unprecedented times when they have been known to earn as little as £10 per day.
"As reasonable operators, OakwellRex deemed it unfair to charge drivers full rental fees under these circumstances.
"The company put forward the proposed model, however this was rejected by the drivers.
"Whilst the drivers are self-employed, they do have a representative who purports to represent the union, Mr Ibrar Hussain, and agreement was reached to continue on the basis of a fixed rent principle.
"During discussions however, around 100 drivers decided to take strike action.
"The company was very disappointed this happened as it really served no purpose other than to disrupt customers and the income of those drivers who wished to continue to work, when the company was trying to address the issues and concerns they had.
"This has now been resolved with an agreement between both parties."
A spokesman from Oakwell & Rex Taxis Union said: "Over 150 drivers have stopped working.
"Drivers are not happy with this new rent structure.
"Drivers are saying in this pandemic and difficult times it's very hard to make a living."
Spokesman for the protest, Gregg Thompson said: "Taxis work has been affected massively with the Covid situation and drivers are struggling.
"Instead of providing relief to the drivers, the bosses have decided to increase the weekly rent. They charge drivers by over £20 and in some cases even more.
"Current rent is £85 weekly and new rent structure they are proposing will see it rise well over £105 for most drivers."
The spokesman from the taxi firm said neither OakwellRex nor the driver’s representative, have ever heard of Gregg Thompson and said his comments were 'an inaccuracy'.
"Our client has asked for Mr Thompson make himself directly known to the company so they can try and understand what he is currently protesting about, which seems to have caught the newspapers attention," said the taxi firm's spokesman.
"Our client also wishes to thank its drivers who continued to work during this time, for all their help and support.
"Their primary interest is customer safety and that drivers have a safe and comfortable environment in which they can work. Our client wishes to apologise to its customers for any inconvenience that may have been caused."