Taxi drivers

City center taxi drivers ‘sit down’ in protest over Covid support

Private taxi and hire drivers protested in Glasgow city center against the industry’s ‘total exclusion’ from Covid-related business support.

The ‘sit in’ blocked George Square and surrounding streets around 10 a.m. Wednesday in what drivers say was an attempt to get their message across to the Scottish government as tighter restrictions are reinstated to curb rising cases of Omicron.

Protesters say the trade needs ‘urgent support’, with union leaders saying they are being ignored and left behind by the Scottish and UK governments.

Eddie Grice, Glasgow chairman of the App Drivers and Couriers Union, said: “We demand to be heard. We got our request through and they were ignored.

“Our business and our drivers are suffering again.

“This protest is about making sure we are listened to and engaged and gaining support for hardworking drivers who are at risk of losing their livelihoods again.

“Some business support is decreasing for certain sectors, but we have again been completely excluded. Our business is based on hospitality and the movement of people.

“With the restrictions returning, we will see many drivers go bankrupt or simply give up trading.

“We are calling on Rishi Sunak to reintroduce the Self-Employed Support Scheme and on the Scottish Government to provide industry-specific support for private drivers and taxi drivers.

“We can’t be left out in the cold and we can’t be left in a sink or swim scenario.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘Scottish Government officials met with representatives from the taxi and private hire industry last week to begin exploring their case for additional funding.