Taxi drivers

Leeds taxi drivers will go on strike again on Friday as people warned not to travel

Residents of Leeds have been told to avoid traveling to the city center due to a protest planned for later this week.

Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organization (LPHDO) will hold a protest between 4pm and 6pm on Friday March 18 as they continue to protest against the suitability and convictions policy.

The controversial policy was introduced in West Yorkshire in February 2020, but a number of concerns have been raised about it.

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Speaking to LeedsLive previously, LPHDO chairman Ahmed Hussain said the policy meant drivers could lose their license for “any slight wrongdoing”.

However, the council said it was “right and required to treat public safety as the priority”.

Taxis drive through the city center earlier this year as they staged a protest against Leeds City Council’s fitness and sentencing policy

Mr Hussain had previously promised to keep protesting until they could reverse the policy.

Leeds City Council has called on the LPHDO to call off the protest and adds that the authority “will always be ready to listen and respond to any concerns raised by the trade”.

Councilor Debra Coupar, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council and Executive Resource Member, said: “Council has received reports of a private driver protest in West Yorkshire this Friday, March 18. The demonstration will consist of a slow-motion drive through the town centers of the region between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

We expect some disruption and delays caused by the protest and advise everyone to avoid traveling during this time if possible.

Drivers are protesting against the fitness and conviction policy which was introduced in West Yorkshire in 2019/20, following a regional consultation on the policy based on the national model developed by UK legal experts and endorsed by the Ministry of Transport.

“The taxi and private hire licensing trade has raised some concerns over proposals for how minor motoring convictions such as speeding would be dealt with, and Leeds councilors have agreed to suspend implementation of this part of the suitability policy to review proposals and agree on another consultation period.

The results of the consultation are currently being analyzed and a final decision should be taken later this year. Throughout the consultation, the board met with trade representatives to hear their views and ensure they are kept informed of progress.

A working group of advisors and trade representatives has been set up to continue discussing convictions and suitability policy and other issues of concern to the taxi and private hire industry. We are happy to say that significant progress has been made recently.

“Council is disappointed that members of the Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organization have now decided to take this action which may unnecessarily disrupt people traveling on Friday evening. The board would ask LPHDO to rescind the action and resume meaningful discussions under the new task force.

“The council is committed to consultation at all levels and will always be ready to listen and respond to any concerns raised by the trade in a constructive manner.”