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SALFORD-Cabbies in go-slow demo

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SALFORD-Cabbies in go-slow demo

Post by Aftab on Thu 30 Apr 2009 - 1:34

Cabbies in go-slow demo

Don Frame

April 30, 2009

SCORES of cab drivers joined a go-slow protest through Salford.


They had originally planned to cause chaos in the run-up to last night's Champion's League semi final at Old Trafford.

They intended to clog up key routes including Chapel Street, near Manchester city centre, Pendleton, and the Eccles New Road area, where many Reds' fans leave their cars before catching trams to the stadium.

But the protest was scaled down after talks with police.

The cavalcade finally travelled only from Eccles town centre to Salford shopping precinct, via Eccles Old Road.

Disruption

Police had warned motorists to avoid the Eccles area as they expected widespread disruption of traffic, but GMP said when the demonstration finished at 6pm, there had been no serious traffic problems.

The drivers travelled in procession with horns beeping, but the change of route meant main roads to Old Trafford were not badly affected.

A spokesman said: "We were monitoring the protest throughout, but we had no reports of any serious incidents, and traffic appeared to have kept moving on other routes."

The go-slow was followed by a crucial meeting with Salford council bosses at the Broadwalk building in Pendleton.

The dispute is over plans by the authority to increase the number of black cabs - with cabbies arguing that the existing 79 hackney carriage drivers are already struggling to make a living.

Undermine wages

Paul Joy, of the Unite union, representing the drivers, said: "We believe this proposal by the council will seriously undermine the wages of our members. Salford is at low ebb.

"There are businesses and pubs closing and this is affecting the income of drivers."

Coun Keith Mann, the council's licensing spokesman, said the plan to lift restrictions on the number of black cabs on Salford's roads followed national guidance issued by the government, which the majority of other cities across the country have already adopted.

"The guidance says that there is no particular reason why Hackney cab licences should be limited," he said.

Cabbies say that four years ago, when the council argued there was a demand for more licences, only one extra licence was issued after a demand survey was carried out.

They are insisting now that more research is done before any final decision on the issue is made.
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