For driving home the message against racism and abusive behaviour, hundreds of Cardiff taxi drivers are threatening to strike around Christmas.
Protesting against being abused by drunken punters and subjected to physical, verbal and racist attacks, chairman of Cardiff Hackney Association Mathab Khan said as many as 731 members could actually walk out on Friday, December 23, if South Wales Police and Cardiff council did not promise greater protection to the drivers.
Dubbing it as Black Friday, Khan said city cabbies were regularly subjected to physical and verbal attacks, racism and foul language. It even left their cars damaged. In fact, their vehicles were kicked and even punched by city centre revelers.
The problem was so acute that the drivers working over the Christmas party period would be “endangering their lives”, he claimed
As of now, the police and the council have give their word to apply brakes on anti-social behaviour during the festive season.
At the same time, South Wales Police refuted Khan’s claims that they did not react fast enough to allegations of criminal behaviour made by drivers.
Khan said it has been going on for the last few years and it was very frightening. Asserting they were trying very hard to make a living, Khan said drivers were “dreading” the two forthcoming weekends.
The punters come out and get sozzled and smashed and then want to get in a cab. The drivers are very scared and very frightened.
Khan said he did not want them to take this lightly. It was extremely serious. They would not work. Why should they endanger their lives to work? he questioned
A South Wales Police spokeswoman said taxi drivers have a challenging job at times and we appreciate the work they do in taking people, who are often intoxicated, home from the city centre. Unfortunately, incidents such as criminal damage, assault and verbal abuse can occur and when reported they are investigated thoroughly.
A wide-ranging safety and cleanliness campaign by Cardiff council and South Wales Police is under way in Cardiff to keep people safe and improve everyone’s enjoyment of nightlife in the city centre.
Initiatives include extra policing and a targeting of individuals involved in anti-social behaviour and an extended taxi marshalling service.