Hundreds of cab drivers met in Edinburgh last night (Tuesday 22 January) to discuss the ‘crisis’ facing the trade. There are an estimated 3,000 drivers in the city working for public and private cabs, including Uber.

The meeting raised a number of issues including the city council’s emissions targets for older vehicles. Last year, Edinburgh City Council passed a policy which will force all black cabs older than ten years to be replaced by April 2020. Hundreds of taxi drivers will be forced to pay up to £60,000 or be potentially forced off the road. It is estimated that a £28.3 million investment from the taxi trade will be required to meet this demand.

Unite has also been raising the growing incidence of ‘pirate’ tax drivers, which is a particular problem in Edinburgh and major urban conurbations. The meeting discussed that there is currently no dedicated enforcement in Edinburgh to tackling the issue of pirating, and called for enforcement officers supported by Police Scotland on street level to act as a deterrent. A key outcome from this meeting was the commitment from every cab driver, regardless of which company they operate in, to come together and organise within a new Unite Branch in order to present a strong and unified position.

Mark Lyon, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “There is a crisis facing the taxi trade in Edinburgh. The meeting involving Unite Scotland was very positive and attended by hundreds across the different sectors in the trade. A number of key issues were discussed such as illegal plying for hire, no dedicated inspectors to deter pirating, and the massive costs associated with the city council’s emissions policy. As such, the drivers present resolved to work together by creating a new Unite branch, to initiate an organising campaign to put pressure on the relevant authorities and to drive up standards.”


For more information contact Mark Lyon on 07711 347 646.

Notes to editor:

Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.