Here’s the angry letter that minicabdriver and Unite union official Waseem Zaffar has written to Council Chief Executive Stephen Hughes.
Dear Mr Hughes,
I am sure you are aware of the circumstances of [Tuesday] night’s consultation event at Villa Park for Private Hire Drivers in Birmingham organised by Birmingham City Council.
Last week, I contacted senior officers of the Licensing Department informing them to expect up to 3,000 drivers at the meeting and to ensure that Birmingham City Council can facilitate for the high numbers.
The high turn-out at the meeting was due to controversial recommendations being proposed by Birmingham City Council that would affect the livelihoods of private hire drivers. The drivers turned up to have a reasonable discussion and raise their concerns about the recommendations.
This was an opportunity that has never been made available to the drivers in the past in Birmingham.
Unfortunately, Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in Europe, could not do this resulting in [the] event ending in chaos. Thousands of private hire drivers were made to wait outside the Holte Suite in one of the coldest nights of the year and later told that the second meeting was to be cancelled.
Over 3,000 drivers took time off their job, despite Birmingham City FC playing at home, and made a financial loss without being able to make their views be known to the council officials.
I would request that as a matter of urgency to re-organise a meeting at a more suitable location in order that these issues can be discussed that affect the livelihoods of Private Hire Drivers and impact on the future of Birmingham as a prosperous and welcoming city for visitors and residents.
For any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thanking you in anticipation.
Mr. Waseem Zaffar
Spokesperson for Birmingham Private Hire Branch of
Unite the Union [T&G Section]
Birmingham City Council admits that 800 drivers were locked out, but say it's always difficult to predict the turnout at an event like this.
And they say plans for a second "duplicate" meeting for those who couldn't get in was cancelled on police advice.
DISCUSS THIS ON THE STIRRER FORUM