SASKATOON, June 19, 2018 /CNW/ - City of Saskatoon administrators have recommended the end of the taxi winter plate program. Winter plates have been issued in the past to address increased taxi demand during the fall and winter seasons. These winter plates have been given out in a lottery system directly to the driver and the program has promoted entrepreneurship. The elimination of this program will have impacts for many workers and their families.
The recommended flex plate proposal shows that this city council is bowing to corporate pressure from dispatch companies to ensure that only a few people will continue to manipulate and control the taxi industry. A taxi plate being issued directly to drivers allows workers to have more control over their work environment. The loss of the winter plate is yet another attack on United Steelworkers (USW) taxi drivers.
"Taxi workers have fought hard to make this industry fair and at every turn the city seems to be working against us," says Malik Umar Draz, President of USW Local 2014 that represents all taxi drivers in Saskatoon.
"Further to the elimination of the winter plates, the city is also proposing a two-tier transportation network companies (TNCs) bylaw, which would allow those cars to operate at lower fares, with no in-car cameras and different procedures for background checks, among other disparities."
The dispatch companies and the union agree that the city should pursue a comprehensive bylaw that will create a level playing field for both taxis and TNCs.
"The city has missed the mark yet again and seems to be avoiding or refusing to address the safety concerns of all drivers, as has the provincial government, whether they be in a taxi or TNC," says Steve Hunt, USW Director for Western Canada.
"We are really concerned at the lack of progress on safety for taxi drivers and these latest recommendations from the city about the implementation of TNCs lack the foresight and understanding of how dangerous this work is. The current proposals do not include any safety measures and actually call for TNC cars not to have security cameras. The lack of cameras is a hazard to both the drivers and the public," Hunt says.
The United Steelworkers represents approximately 600 taxi workers across Saskatchewan.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Malik Umar Draz, USW Local 2014 President, 306-370-3838.