Leeds Drivers Protest Unjust Ban Policies

Over a hundred taxi and private hire drivers joined a lobby organised by the Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation (LPHDO) of Leeds City Council’s licensing committee over its Suitability and Convictions policy. This is one of a serious of priests in recent months around West Yorkshire over this and other issues facing drivers.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

The committee was considering what recommendation to make to the council’s executive around at what stage drivers could face potential disciplinary action including losing their license.

In the past this sits at 12 points, but the council want to reduce it, along with other changes to their Suitability and Convictions policies. The committee ended up proposing it would be reduced to 9 points.

Drivers are particularly frustrated with the way the council leadership had promised to consult with them about the policy, but have refused to do so. Drivers feel that the council is now trying to rush the policy through over the summer when many drivers are on holiday.

Whilst a couple of Labour councillors did come out and engage with the drivers, trust in the Labour council is at rock bottom with some if the drivers with placards demanding the council leader, James Lewis resigns.

Drivers are also campaigning over restrictive policies over vehicle specifications. This includes arbitrary age limits for vehicles (with vehicles having less wear and tear than expected due to the pandemic), as well as calling for manufacturer-spec tinted windows to be allowed, which would currently need to be replaced at a cost.

Drivers in Wakefield recently forced the council there to move on some of these issues, with a two year extension on car age and a consultation on tinted windows, which whilst not resolving even most of the drivers issues, show the protests are having an effect.

As one driver told us “The council seem to think that the drivers are uneducated and will accept whatever they dictate to us. But we are reading the documents from the council, the DFT and elsewhere so we can answer their arguments, and we will continue to protest and strike until we get a fair outcome”.

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