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    Taxis to shut Brussels down in protest against Uber

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The taxi sector has called for a big demonstration throughout Tuesday, starting at 5 a.m., to paralyse traffic in the Brussels Region, in order to press  Uber to comply with existing regulations and obtain the resignation of Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet. Convoys of taxis will leave from strategic points to go and block strategic roads. More than 500 taxis are expected. Out of solidarity taxi drivers from other Belgian regions and European cities are expected to join the action. “We have issued instructions not to attack property or persons”, said Sam Bouchal, spokesman of the Belgian Taxi Federation, FeBeT. “It’ll be a tough and extremely paralysing action for Brussels.”  

    He apologized on behalf of the taxi drivers for any inconvenience that the action might cause, but explained that their representatives have tried dialogue in vain since 2015. “In the consultative committee, we don’t consult at all”, Bouchal explained. “The minister just informs us of the Government’s decisions. We are calling for the resignation of [Mobility Minister] Pascal Smet”.

    Basically, Bouchal is against the liberalisation of the sector. “If Uber respects regulations, we’ll view it like any other networking platform, like the Green Taxis”, Bouchal said. “The taxi sector is the laboratory of liberalization. If we lose this battle, I think that will mean the death of salaried work. We’ll live on flexibility and mini-jobs. We’ll return to the piece work of the 19th century.”

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times