Airport taxi drivers resume work

Fri, Aug 24, 2012, 01:00

A taxi strike at Dublin Airport has been called off, and the drivers have returned to work after a deal was reached during intensive overnight talks.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) will restore disputed parking spaces for two weeks, during which time a permanent resolution must be reached with taxi representatives.

Drivers have ended their action, which was entering its third day, and returned to the airport’s terminals to collect incoming passengers.

The row centred on access to spaces in an overflow area for drivers awaiting access to ranks. The DAA said there are 55 disputed spaces, while taxi representatives said there are 70.

The parties held overnight talks with an independent mediator until 5.30am in a Dublin hotel.

While no final agreement was reached, mediator Sheamus Sweeney drew up a plan for the issue to be resolved by September 7th.

All sides have vowed to enter intensive negotiations to end the dispute by the date, which will not be extended. If no agreement is reached by then, DAA can continue with its plans to cut spaces and taxi drivers could step up their industrial action.

Jerry Brennan of the National Irish Taxi Association said members view the plan as positive. “The concrete barriers which were put in the way, blocking the parking bays for the drivers, will be removed today as soon as possible,” he said. “We have that on good faith from the DAA.

“So what we now have is a very important job of work to do in the next two weeks. Everybody has to get their shoulders to the wheel.”

Some 1,500 drivers are licensed to pick up fares at the airport, and there have been 600 spaces for drivers since 2010 when Terminal 2 was developed.

The DAA said they removed some of the 170 spaces in a holding area, with notice, as it needed them for commercial use.

Drivers said they had no choice but to strike when the spaces where cut, as they were given tickets by gardaí when they parked on roads. It is understood those fines have been rescinded.

Around 400 drivers caused severe traffic congestion in and around the airport when they took part in three slow-driving protests.

Passengers arriving back on short- and long-haul flights had been directed on to buses and rental cars for onward journeys since Wednesday morning.

The DAA said there are about 75 spaces on ranks at the two terminals and an automatic system to call drivers forward to fill spaces and collect fares.

Drivers have said they want an automatic system to call one driver to a rank at a time to ensure they secure trade based on how long they have been waiting in the airport.


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