GLASGOW cab drivers forced to work up to 70 hours a week to earn a living wage will not seek help for mental health issues over fears they will lose their jobs, it has been claimed.

Union chiefs have warned drivers are under extreme stress amid increased competition in the trade from firms such as Uber.

But many drivers fear they will lose their taxi and private hire licences if they report mental problems to GPs, according to Steven Grant, secretary of the Unite union.

Glasgow City Council has about 3500 private hire drivers on its roads, with 177 new licences pending approval.

Mr Grant said those looking to earn a living wage have no option but to work 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

He said: “The private hire trade as we know has a huge problem of over-supply.

“By licensing hundreds more private hire cars on a pay-as-you-go basis via Uber, it is eroding earnings and taxi and private hire driving as a full-time occupation.

“It was worrying to hear taxi drivers at our union meeting on Monday night speaking about having no future – about how little time they are spending with their families – and having to put in more and more hours to stand still. The average driver is spending 70-plus hours per week behind the wheel to achieve a living wage.

“These drivers will not approach their GPs for help with associated mental health ailments because they would also have to inform Glasgow City Council’s licensing department of such medical issues.

“That could see them having their licences suspended or revoked.

“The situation is becoming intolerable for many who have invested significant sums of money and time in the taxi and private hire trades.”

Glasgow City Council confirmed it would be looking at potentially capping the number of private hire drivers in the city.

But a spokesman admitted a decision would only be made after guidance from the Scottish Government was issued.

He said: “The number of applications for new licences and licence renewals can vary from one year to the next, so the figures indicate a manageable deficit that may well adjust over the next few years.

“Recent changes to legislation will allow us to apply a cap on private hire cars if that is found to be necessary. Both the number of taxis and private hire cars are within the scope of an impending assessment of the demand for licensed vehicles in Glasgow.

“We are awaiting guidance from the Government on how best to implement this assessment of demand.

“The independent assessment of demand for taxis and PHCs will help us understand if such a cap is needed for private hire cars in Glasgow.

“We will study the results of the assessment before making recommendations.”

Leading charity See Me Scotland insisted that workers who faced difficulties with mental health need help from their employers to get the best chance of recovery.

Stephen Flynn, chairman of Glasgow Taxis, said: “We would encourage any of our staff with health concerns to contact their GP in the first instance.”

Speaking at the end of Mental Health Week, Calum Irving, See Me director, said: “Many professionals do treat people with mental health problems well but sadly this is not always the case.

“The institutions that employ, educate and care for us must, therefore, be proactive in preventing discrimination and protecting rights.

“It is the right thing to do and can help people’s recovery. For public bodies, in particular, being proactive is a requirement of the Equality Act.”