250 Leeds Amber Car Drivers In Dispute

21 Oct 2010

250 Leeds Amber car drivers are in their 6th day of picket line protest in dispute over a £10 increase in weekly rental charges. The drivers are upset as they feel that they have been treated shabbily for some time which is why they decided to bring matters to a head and GMB is attempting to represent the drivers in this dispute.

Licenced private hire car drivers working for Amber Cars in Leeds are now into their sixth day of picket line protest at the firms base at Athlone Street, Armley, Leeds, LS12 IUB in a dispute about the unilateral increase in weekly rental charges for radio equipment and a range of other issues. Over 250 drivers, mainly of Asian origin, are refusing to work unless Amber Cars agrees to negotiate on this and a number other matters.

The action by the drivers begun on Friday 15th October when the company owner Andy Pennock imposed a staged increase in the weekly rental charges for radio equipment from £90 to £100 per week. This is an 11% hike to the weekly rental charge with no compensating increase in fares. The company’s action stirred a number of long running grievances with regard to how the drivers feel they are treated.

Amber Cars are the largest private hire company in Leeds and have contracts with prestigious organisations such as the NHS and Yorkshire TV’s Emmerdale.
Drivers report that they received threats from the company informing them that their contract with the company would be terminated if they refused to return to work.

Bill Chard, Membership Development Officer for the GMB said “I met with drivers outside Amber Cars yesterday and they told me that many of them worked below the minimum wage.  They also stated that they felt that they were not treated with respect.  Although the drivers are predominately Asian all the managers and operators are white.  They have a number of long running issues that need to be resolved.

GMB and a committee of drivers had one meeting with Amber Cars management some weeks ago but now management are refusing to communicate with the drivers’ representatives despite a plea by them to help resolve the situation and to get the business running smoothly again.”

Javaid Akhtar, Secretary of the Yorkshire Professional Drivers Association, a branch of the GMB added “We are attempting to communicate with Amber Cars in order to bring this matter to a mutually satisfactory conclusion. Unfortunately despite our best efforts the management are refusing to speak to us.  The drivers are upset, they feel that they have been treated shabbily for some time that is why they decided to bring matters to a head, and the GMB is attempting to represent the drivers in this dispute.”