North Lanarkshire taxis in raw deal claim

SNP councillors in North Lanarkshire say taxi drivers doing school contracts for the council are getting a rough deal.

The council’s SNP group says taxi drivers must accept just 20 per cent of their earnings or risk getting nothing while coach operators are being paid 75 per cent for similar contracts.

SNP group secretary Councillor Greg Lennon said:  “I have been inundated with complaints from my own constituents, who are contract operators, and the wider taxi workforce describing the true impact that this lack of consultation and unfair decision has had on them and their families.

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“The way this has been handled by the Labour administration is a sad indictment and has put many of my constituents and the wider contractors in severe financial hardship

“Having written to the convenor of education Frank McNally requesting a review I was shocked to learn that NLC have saved £1.8 million from this cut despite this being ring-fenced funds for school transport. To date I have yet to receive a response or any explanation as to how NLC intend to use the savings.

“It is tragic to see that other neighbouring authorities have reached a mutually agreed figure with operators ranging from 75 per cent to 100 per cent. For some reason, our drivers have been provided with a 20 per cent ultimatum despite SPT coach contractors receiving 75 per cent in a ‘take it or leave’ it bid by the authority

“This is despite drivers receiving communications from the Labour Leader of the administration Cllr Jim Logue assuring them that they were to be awarded a reasonable 75 per cent settlement, since then the authority has advised those affected to apply for government assistance which many do not qualify for as sole traders.”

A spokesman for the Labour group said: “It’s worrying to see that the SNP is seeking to overturn contractual decisions of NLC. This goes against established best practice

“Taxi drivers should be accessing the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, which provides a grant to eligible self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80 per cent of earnings up to a cap of £2,500 per month, and allows them to continue to operate at the same time.

“Our outstanding council staff are working round the clock to support all workers in North Lanarkshire and the SNP should concentrate their time on supporting our staff.”