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A MINICAB drivers’ union has accused West Northamptonshire Council of drawing up racist licensing rules that unfairly target the industry’s migrant drivers.
The App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU) union, which represents drivers employed by app firms such as Uber and Bolt, warned that the proposed rules also risk allowing bosses to dodge workers’ rights.
The rules are contained in a draft taxi policy report by the council aimed at “maintaining and improving public safety.”
This includes ensuring that licensed drivers are “fit and proper persons, and achieve and maintain the highest standards of professional practice.”
Under the proposed rules, foreign drivers who have not lived in Britain for a continuous period of five years since the age of 18 must request a “certificate of good conduct” from the relevant embassy for each and every country they have resided in for more than three months, and these certificates must be less than three months old.
ADCU says this requirement, which it says is unnecessary and impractical, unfairly singles out migrant workers or those who have close family ties abroad.
It also warns that the requirement would be practically impossible to fulfil for many and could place some people who have fled from repressive regimes in serious danger.
ADCU members will stage a protest against the proposed policy on Thursday morning at the Victoria Street car park in Northampton.
The union’s president Yaseen Aslam said: “It is morally offensive that predominantly migrant and ethnic minority minicab drivers must now face disproportionately invasive and punishing scrutiny yet continue to lack even any meaningful protection and respect for their own rights from the council.”
West Northamptonshire Council Cllr David Smith said: “The key purpose of this new draft policy is to keep passengers in private hire vehicles and taxis safe.
“A huge amount of work has gone into devising an approach which levels the playing field for drivers and operators across West Northamptonshire.
“We engaged with drivers and operators as part of the process, and this is now out consultation, which is the most appropriate route for anyone to offer their views and suggestions.
“The Licensing Team are more than happy to speak with any further taxi and private hire drivers and operators, and representatives acting on their behalf as part of the consultation process."
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