Rossendale Council’s New Controversial Points System For Taxi Drivers Leading To A Wave Of Strikes – 13/10/2010

Rossendale Council’s new penalty point system will lead to crippling disruptive action if not dropped immediately according to Glenn Bulcock of Rossendale Taxi Association.

Over 200 Rossendale taxi drivers met on Monday to give their backing to strike action if the Licensing Unit at the Council does not back down.

The Council’s new licensing proposal lists 34 examples of “minor breaches” and unacceptable behaviour” that can result in a license being revoked if a 20-point limit is reached with 12 months.

Infringements include sounding the horn on arrival (four points) to urinating or defecating in public (eight points), which drivers find especially offensive.

Glenn Bulcock, chair of Rossendale Taxi Association, states; “It will be mayhem if the proposal is not withdrawn. We will be left with no option but to strike.”

Oliver Gardner, legal taxi specialist backs Bulcock and the Association: “The plan is simply unworkable, unfair and unlawful.”

Manchester based Gardner, head of motoring law at Howards which specialises in taxi licensing, comments: “The Council is effectively appointing itself as judge and jury without the appropriate qualifications, training or authority.

It is seeking to accuse, investigate, try and then punish hard working people for offences that could actually lead to a loss of livelihood – and without any regulating body or safeguard.

The plan does not follow the rule of law we expect to see in a court-based system. It really is building the foundations of this plan on legal quicksand.”

Gardner further adds: “The practicalities of the scheme just don’t add up. It will require substantial resources to plan, police and administer at a time of swingeing cuts.”

Bulcock concludes: “We do not want to take action. However, if we are forced to do so it could result in morning blockades and Friday and Saturday night strikes to name a couple of options. We hope it will not come to this.”

The Association is meeting with the Council’s Licensing Unit this Thursday although Bulcock believes it will not back down.