TAXI and private hire car drivers gathered in Glasgow to challenge the second round of support grants offered by the Scottish Government to the industry.

Meeting at the Springfield Quay before making their way along Paisley Road/Paisley Road West, members of the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) and the All Glasgow Hackney Union joined the go-slow convoy yesterday afternoon.

The protest follows last week’s announcement that grants of £1500 would be awarded to drivers and up to £10,000 for operators, but many operators are receiving significantly less than this.

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Eddie Grice, chairman of the Glasgow Branch of ADCU, said: "Over 100 private hire and taxi drivers took part in the protest and the message being sent to the council and government was crystal clear. 

"Drivers are bitterly disappointed with the level of support being offered and are demanding that more be done to help.  

"It's not just about grant money though.  We have virtually lost a third of the lifespan of our licences and have also lost a chunk of the lifespan of our vehicles due to the council's age limits on our cars. 

"We are demanding the council to extend the lifespan of private hire cars in Glasgow from 7 to, at least, 10 years and are demanding that the loss on our licence lifespans be mitigated in some way. 

"Today, the ADCU's private hire drivers turned out in solidarity with Glasgow hackney drivers. This was a small protest and we won't hesitate to go bigger.  We will not back down until our demands have been met and the survival of our trade has been ensured.

"Another great thing to see today was the largest showing of solidarity amongst drivers that our trade has ever seen in Scotland.  This is the most united I have ever seen this industry and it is truly fantastic to witness. 

"I'm really proud of our members after today and I thank them all for showing up in the numbers that they did.  Drivers are coming together to fight for better working conditions, better treatment, and an end to exploitative practices in this industry."

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The union highlighted that taxi and private hire vehicles come with many different values, insurance and running costs. Members feel these issues have been overlooked and ignored and the level of support being offered is “far too little and far too late”.

ADCU Scotland will continue to campaign until it believes the level of support offered is sufficient enough to ensure the trade’s survival.

Commenting on the protest, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “An additional £62 million for taxi drivers and operators was announced last week, bringing the total support for the sector during the pandemic to more than £90m.

“We worked closely with sector stakeholders to develop the support for taxi drivers and operators. For taxi drivers, local authorities will automatically provide a second payment to those who received the first grant, meaning eligible drivers will have received a total

of £3000.”