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Taxi Drivers Hit Hard by Saskatchewan Government Days Before Busy Christmas Season

SASKATOON, Dec. 7, 2018 - With less than 10 days' notice, Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) will be unleashed across the province. The United Steelworkers (USW) Taxi Council is deeply disappointed in the decisions made by the government, SGI, and municipalities to attack the current livelihood of taxi workers. It is also concerning that this move is being championed to reduce drinking and driving over the holidays, while there is no evidence that this is the case.

"We have been fighting for safe working conditions for our taxi drivers for over four years. What the province has announced today will put both workers and the public at risk," says Stephen Hunt, USW Western Canada Director.

"Too many of our members experience physical and verbal abuse every day, and with the allowance of Class 5 licence holders to drive TNCs, we will see an increase in the number of people with physical and psychological injuries," Hunt says.

"Allowing Class 5 licence holders to be de facto taxi drivers with such companies as Uber is totally unfair to current taxi drivers who are held to a higher standard at Class 4," says Malik Umar Draz, President of USW Local 2014 and Chair of the USW Taxi Council. "We have been advocating for regulations that will protect drivers and the public. Unfortunately decisions like this put everyone at risk."

It will now be in the hands of the municipalities to do the regulatory heavy lifting, the USW says.

"We were hoping for stronger regulations at the provincial level," says Darrin Kruger, USW Staff Representative. "The province is shirking its responsibility and further de-regulating the transportation industry. This is not a good day for Saskatchewan and this announcement will only lead to an increase in precarious and low-paying jobs in our province." 

The move is contradictory to other changes earlier in the week where the provincial government raised standards for commercial truck drivers. There doesn't seem to be any predictability to the decisions made by this government, only that it is inconsistent and its motivations are unclear.  

The USW Taxi Council represents over 600 drivers in the province. They will continue to fight for better working conditions and health and safety standards for taxi workers.

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For further information:

Darrin Kruger, USW Staff Representative, 306-717-8747, dkruger@usw.ca

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