The taxi drivers’ bodies that gave official notice of a strike and announced a demonstration to be held on 26 November, decided to call it off but maintain their level of vigilance, Minister-President Rudi Vervoort’s Office announced on Friday morning.
This decision was taken following a meeting held on Thursday between the Minister-President’s Brussels office and Khalid Ed-Denguir, representing the four associations that issued the notice. According to his office, Vervoort confirmed during the discussions the indispensable nature of such a reform being made in the interests of users, professionals and workers and undertook to introduce it in consultation with all representatives from the sector.
Organisations representing Brussels taxis firms Taxis United, ATB and UPETTC had called on Tuesday for protest action on 26 November 2019 starting at 9:30 AM at Gare du Nord to demonstrate their discontent with lack of reform in the sector. A strike notice was issued the day before.
Brussels taxi drivers have been complaining for years about the unfair competition Uber’s appearance has introduced. Uber drivers, who can carry passengers and have authorisation to drive limousines, are not subject to the same rules or the obligation to hold a licence like taxi drivers.
The previous government had proposed reform, but the necessary measures needed to implement it could not be taken.
The Minister-President’s office met Ed-Denguir on Thursday in its capacity as the representative of the associations that issued the 26th November strike notice.
“On the basis of what was said and taking into account the structural problems encountered by the sector, it is undeniable that reform is necessary; the Minister-President confirms the indispensable nature of the latter in the interests of users, professionals and workers,” Ed-Denguir stated on Friday morning in a press release addressed to the Belga news agency.
For the Minister-President, Brussels taxis are “a public service that must be protected in the face of at times unfair competition.”
Vervoort added that “dialogue and concerted action” were core to his approach. “I mean to carry out this reform with all representatives from the Taxi & Limousine sector,” he emphasised.
According to Vervoort’s office, following the meeting “in an approach involving social dialogue with the Region, the associations decided to lift the strike notice but maintain their level of vigilance.”