Airport taxi stoush steps up a notch
The dispute between Auckland International Airport and a small group of taxi drivers stepped up a notch today, with one taxi company ending its contract, leaving 50 jobs in the lurch.
President Taxis, part of the Auckland Taxi Association which is protesting for better working conditions, has told all 50 of its drivers that from Monday they will not be allowed to pick up passengers from the airport .
But the airport denies the ceased contract is a direct result of the dispute.
Airport spokesman Simon Lambourne said the decision to cancel the contract was made at the request of President Taxis on October 17 and was not related to the recent threatened protest action from the Auckland Taxi Association.
Earlier this month about 100 of the 700 taxis that operate from the airport formed the Auckland Taxi Association to fight for better conditions for drivers at the airport, including better sun shade, water fountains and toilet access.
The airport agreed to improve facilities for drivers after the dispute escalated to protest action by drivers.
However, the airport said the association, made up of smaller taxi companies, still wanted the airport to move a rival taxi rank further from the international terminal arrivals hall.
Lambourne said the association's negotiators walked out of a meeting when they realised their demand to reduce competition was not going to succeed.
Association spokesman Manmohan Singh said the loss of the President Taxis contract meant that as from Monday night 50 drivers had in effect been sacked.
The airport said that to minimise any impact on the President Taxi drivers, the airport would transfer the company's operating permits to other licensed airport taxi companies if they took on the affected drivers.