Darien Fenton has said:
Conditions for cabbies working Auckland Airport have become so dire they have been driven to protest, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says.
Around 300 drivers have pulled out of working on the Auckland Airport taxi ranks today in protest at the way they have been treated.
“These drivers have to hand over $190 a week for the privilege of sitting on a rank for hours, without food and drink, and facing the impossibility of making a day’s living.
I didn’t realise that it was compulsory for taxi drivers to service Auckland Airport. I was under the mistaken belief that they were not rounded up from their homes at dawn and made to go to the airport, to wait for fares. I presumed that they choose to cover the airport because the average fare back into Auckland is $70 or more.
I also didn’t realise that Auckland Airport searched their cars every morning and confiscated water bottles, sandwiches etc from their cars.
Presumably Auckland Airport also round up and detain anyone who tries to purchase a bottle of coke or a coffee on behalf of a taxi driver.
“Many work 72 hours a week yet earn as little as $60 a day. On top of that the airport charges another $2 every time they enter the rank.
“The taxi industry was deregulated to bring better service to customers and to ensure there were competitive practices.
“That hasn’t happened. Airport companies are encouraging anti-competitive practices that make life even tougher for drivers.
“Cut throat practices like these mean that take home pay is further squeezed and drivers can’t feed their families.
“The Government needs to take a good look at what is happening for contractors like our cabbies and consider whether there needs to be some minimum protections.”
Presumably Darien means that taxi fares are too low and must be increased. Or is Labour campaigning to sack half the taxi drivers in Auckland so each driver gets more jobs?
Political commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.