FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 17, 2015
Rally at City Hall, Friday September 18 at 12pm
Ottawa, ON – The Workers Action Group of Solidarity Against Austerity wants to express our solidarity and support for the hundreds of local taxi drivers who have been recently locked out by their employer. We believe the attacks and smears against locked out drivers have gone too far, and we are calling on all taxi users and driver supporters across the city to join us for a support rally on Friday.
Where: Ottawa City Hall (Lisgar Street entrance)
When: Friday, September 18th
The employer responsible for the two ongoing taxi lockouts — Coventry Connections — is the near-monopoly private company that, with City of Ottawa authorization, dominates our local taxi industry. Coventry locked out the Airport taxi drivers on August 11 following a breakdown in contract negotiations, and they followed this with a second lockout of Capital drivers (Blue Line and Capital are both owned by Coventry) on August 25. The City must now intervene actively in these disputes, and insist that the employers, including both Coventry and the Airport Authority (whose board includes City nominees), revise their outrageous fee and other demands and settle fair new contracts.
The ongoing boycott of airport taxi pickup (operated by a small minority of picket-crossing scab drivers) is not enough. The Mayor and Ottawa Council should follow the lead of Vancouver and Calgary and re-establish the moratorium on access of illegal taxi operators like Uber to the Ottawa taxi market. Taxi services are a vital form of public transit, and like all such public services, their delivery should be affordable, democratically accountable, safe, and a source of decent-paying and stable jobs.
Workers Action Group (WAG), is a project of Solidarity Against Austerity, a broad local network of community, student, labour, peace, environmental and anti-poverty activists. The Workers Action Group was established in recognition of the need for more militant and rank and file oriented labour movement organizing in our region. We see austerity policies as targeting the working class in all its diversity, with particularly harmful effects on women, racialized peoples, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, and other oppressed groups.