Published November 8, 2016 at 16:04
Rossendale Council has now had confirmation of the strike by the taxi trade, after circulating rumours that they intended to go on strike. They have notified us that the strike is a withdrawal of service and takes place with immediate effect on the morning of Wednesday 9th November 2016, however it is still unclear for how long the strike will last.
As many will be aware we have recently been consulting on proposed changes to our taxi licensing policy and at the forefront of our work on this it has always been, and will always be, public safety. Whilst we want to work positively with the trade, the council also has a duty to ensure public safety, something this council takes seriously, we are sure the public understand this.
We have worked closely with the taxi trade on this consultation; with both the development of the consultation and the responses. We have always offered and encouraged an open dialogue with the local trade and are always willing to work with them. After their last strike in July, when around 30 members of the trade took industrial action outside our offices, we met with them that morning and held further meetings with them on the consultation and capturing their responses.
Through our democratic process we acknowledged the local trade in this consultation; our report on the recommended changes clearly highlights the concerns the taxi trade have around the introduction of CCTV in cabs and the introduction of testing for current drivers and subsequent costs. The council does not make a profit from licensing and the measures are being proposed purely on the grounds of public safety.
The consultation was extensive and we have taken the advice of a licensing lawyer on the recommendations we propose following the consultation results. Any changes that come in will be fair in that they apply to all licenses, not just local ones as the trade are reporting.
Although we do no know the potential length of the strike we are working hard to inform the NHS and Lancashire County Council so they can make alternative arrangements regarding any contracts with taxis for those in need who require transport by this method.
The consultation recommendations are being discussed at Licensing Committee on November 15th as part of the Council’s democratic process.
We will continue to keep residents updated on the situation as and when we receive any more information.
At the Licensing Committee Meeting on Tuesday 15th Novemeber the Chair, Cllr Steve Hughes, has agreed that the length of public speaking will be increased.
We have provided the following for clarification purposes;