OTTAWA, Aug. 17, 2015 /CNW/ - Ottawa taxi drivers serving the airport
will be staging a slow-moving protest this afternoon as part of their
dispute with the airport authority over fees.
"These people work 15-16 hours a day to eke out a living," said Harry
Ghadban, a National Representative with Unifor, which represents the
The Members of Local 1688 began withholding their dispatch fees August
1, but continued to pick up riders at the airport. When the fees came
due last week, the airport locked them out by disabling the
transponders the drivers use to get into the airport.
The airport recently stepped up its actions, allowing any taxi driver in
Ottawa to now pick up riders at the airport. Normally, only drivers
with the designated airport fleet can pick up riders. With the
airport's latest move, airport fleet drivers are now banned from the
airport, but all others are allowed in.
The Airport Authority testified in Court last week that it knew that its
actions would create a "turf war" - and yet continued with its course
of action at the expense and inconvenience to the travelling public.
Beginning at about 3pm this afternoon, the locked out drivers will begin
driving slowly around the road to and from the airport.
"We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause," Ghadban said.
"If we accept the higher fees, that cost would need to be passed on to
our customers, and we don't think that's fair."
The airport authority has demanded that the dispatch fees be increased
from $345 a month to $1,300. By comparison, the stand rent paid by
other taxi drivers in the city is $400 to $460 per month.
Taxi drivers are already facing many challenges, including from illegal
cab services, Ghadban said, stressing the drivers' dispute is with the
airport authority, which is demanding the new fee, in conjunction with
the cab company.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing
more than 305,000 members, including more than 2,500 in the Ontario
taxi industry. It was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian
Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union
For further information:
please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at Stuart.Laidlaw@Unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.