Taxi drivers in main cities in Spain are on strike once more to use stress for extra stringent laws to manage app rivals comparable to Uber and Cabify which they view as unfair competitors.
In Barcelona the taxi sector referred to as an indefinite strike on Friday, utilizing their automobiles to dam Gran Vía within the Catalan capital, with protest motion carrying on by way of the weekend and persevering with into right now.
Taxi drivers in Madrid are additionally on strike from this morning.
In Barcelona, the strike was referred to as after the Catalan authorities introduced proposals for regulating the car for rent (VTC) sector which embrace a 15 minute wait time between a passenger reserving and with the ability to take a journey.
The taxi drivers need the wait time to be for much longer than that; at the least 24 hours.
There have been studies of violence throughout Friday’s motion. The Huffington Submit stated a Cabify driver suffered a panic assault after his automotive was attacked by a bunch of protestors. It studies the police used cardiopulmonary resuscitation manoeuvers on the driving force to stabilize him.
A journalist for El Pais additionally posted a video of the assault and ensuing harm to the car on Twitter.
The AP studies that native police arrested seven folks in reference to the violence.
On Sunday, Elite Taxi BCN, one of many fundamental associations backing the strike motion, issued a video of its spokesman, Alberto Álvarez, calling for protestors to maintain issues peaceable.
The most recent strikes comply with a summer season of motion by the sector which additionally kicked off in Barcelona, additionally with violent scenes and studies of assaults on VTC drivers.
In that case Uber and Cabify briefly paused companies within the metropolis on security grounds. The pair don’t seem to have stopped their companies this time.
Though some VTC drivers have been holding counter protests by parking their automobiles alongside a stretch of Avenue Diagonal, inflicting additional disruption to the circulate of site visitors within the metropolis.
The taxi strike in the summertime solely ended after the federal government agreed to switch regulatory competency for the VTC sector to the areas. The Catalan authorities is the primary regional authority to have put ahead proposals for regulating VTCs.
However the transfer devolving regulatory competency has not ended the ‘taxi conflict’. Removed from it; it’s cranking up a gear as taxi associations demand a firewall for his or her sector by overruling the on-demand comfort of app-based rivals that are counter protesting within the hopes of steering out of a looming regulatory bind.
The latter group argues that imposed wait limits could be unconstitutional as a result of they’d go in opposition to the final curiosity of residents. Additionally they level out that ready time primarily based laws haven’t been efficiently enforced anyplace in Europe (London’s TfL proposed a 5 minute ready time after a reserving again in 2015 however dropped the measure after a public session, as an example).
Whereas the taxi sector argues that current legal guidelines aren’t being enforced which means regulated public service is being unfairly undercut and undermined by multinationals that additionally solely deliver precarious work, reasonably than sustainable employment…
In Barcelona the annual Cellular World Congress tradeshow, which takes place in simply over a month’s time — bringing an inflow of round 100,000 techie guests — is a strategic ratchet for the taxi business to stress authorities. Threats to paralyze the town are at their most politically and economically potent. So there’s loads of uncertainty about the place the most recent huelga indefinida will lead.
If wait limits are imposed the VTC sector claims it might end in scores of drivers being put out of labor. Commenting on the Barcelona authorities’s proposals for regulating the sector, an Uber spokesman advised us: “Current developments may have main penalties for drivers in addition to the 1000’s of riders who get pleasure from new mobility companies within the metropolis. We proceed to name for dialogue with all native stakeholders, together with taxis, to form the way forward for city mobility in Spain collectively.”
We’ve additionally reached out to Cabify for remark.
Unauto VTC, a VTC affiliation, issued a press launch on Saturday decrying the blockade of the town and what it dubbed “insupportable ranges of violence” by taxi associations, in addition to attacking the “completely disproportionate” proposed VTC laws. It additionally denounced the native authorities minister in control of the regulation, Damià Calvet, accusing him of caving in to taxi business “blackmail”.
“The Catalan Authorities’s umpteenth caving in to taxi sector blackmail has ensured it’s going to not be glad with something aside from the disappearance of the VTC sector. We hope the federal government rectifies this instantly and permits the final curiosity of the residents of Catalonia to prevail,” stated affiliation president, Eduardo Martín, in an announcement (which we’ve translated).
“I ponder what the subsequent factor Barcelona’s taxi sector shall be asking for below menace of blocking the Cellular World Congress. Possibly the Metro closes an hour earlier, or that the Aerobus disappears. In view of the perspective of the present Authorities of the Generalitat it’s potential that they may obtain it.”
The town authorities pointed us to an announcement right now, from the councillor for mobility and president of metropolitan transport, Mercedes Vidal, calling for an “acceptable” proposal so taxis and VTC drivers don’t do the identical work.