Taxi drivers across Dewsbury striking 'indefinitely' says Union
Over one hundred taxi drivers have stopped working across Kirklees due to protest according to a drivers union.
Since yesterday, 'over 150 drivers' have stopped working because of changes in the drivers rent structure.
It comes after Oakwell & Rex Taxis, in Dewsbury, have allegedly increased weekly rent rates by £20, which will see it rise to £105 for drivers.
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.
"A large number of people are protesting this in Batley, Dewsbury, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, and surrounding areas."
A protest strike started yesterday outside the Oakwell Taxi base on Camroyd Street.
A spokesman from Oakwell & Rex Taxis Union said: "Over 150 drivers have stopped working.
"A driver can earn as much money as possible and pay a fix rent off £85 per week.
"From September 7 the rent structure will be on percentages.
"A driver earning between 0-£340 will have to pay 25% rent on the gross earnings and thereafter 15% on each hundred.
"Also from September 7, the taxi rates will increase from £2.70 to £2.80 an increase of only 10p, which the drivers feel is an insult and are furious about.
"For example if a driver does 20-25 jobs a day they will be making between £2-£2.50 extra per day but will be paying more back in rent.
"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.
"Taxi trade is suffering, night trades are completely finished, pubs are closing, night clubs are not allowed to be open.
"In certain areas across Kirklees they are still in local lockdown. People are not confident to come out, and there's fear of a second lockdown.
"Drivers representatives have had meetings with the company bosses and have not come to an agreement, therefore the majority of the drivers called for a strike.
This morning at 9.30am, drivers met again at Cliffe Street Car Park, Dewsbury to try to break this deadlock and come to some agreement, according to the Union.
The Union representative said the strike will go on 'indefinitely' until drivers demands are met.
Oakwell & Rex Taxis posted a statement on its social media page, which said: "Due to strike action by our drivers, we are currently running a reduced service and anticipate major disruption. We thank you for your patience."
Oakwell & Rex Taxis have been approached for a comment on numerous occasions today and yesterday to the protests, and have yet to provide a statement.