iTaxi Workers Association backs plan for Toronto cabbie job action

Toronto taxi drivers will launch a job action if the city doesn’t crack down on Uber, a drivers' union warned on Tuesday.

'This mayor doesn’t listen to the cab industry,' group's president says at city hall

Toronto taxi drivers are planning some form of job action for Aug. 17. Last December, cab drivers staged a major protest outside city hall. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Toronto taxi drivers will launch a job action if the city doesn't crack down on Uber, a drivers' union warned on Tuesday.

The United Taxiworkers Association is organizing a major protest for Aug. 17 — next Wednesday — to call attention to how the city has dealt with Uber.

Sajid Mughal, president of the The iTaxi Workers Association of Ontario, said as long as the protest doesn't block roads, his organization supports it. He also blasted the city and mayor John Tory for not enforcing new bylaws passed to deal with the ride-hailing service.

"This mayor does not listen to the cab industry," Mughal told reporters at city hall.

"He will never listen to the cab industry unless we get united and make a demonstration that he should at least enforce by the bylaw that he passed three months back."

Peter Rosenthal, a lawyer working with the group, said despite new bylaws approved by the city, Uber continues to operate illegally on Toronto's streets. The city's reluctance to make Uber adhere to its own rules, he said, is forcing the cab drivers to take action.

"A job action of some kind is going to happen," Rosenthal said.

"And it certainly should be understood by people as a response to the situation created by the city."

Paul Sekhon, of the United Taxiworkers Association, said his organization will meet Wednesday to discuss what the Aug. 17 job action will look like. The association, which represents some 3,500 GTA drivers, previously said it doesn't want its protest to harm the public. 

City says Uber is complying with new rules

Taxi drivers across the city have been posting small protest signs in their windows. (CBC)
The city reworked its ground transportation bylaws earlier this year, following months of protests by cab drivers angry with Uber cutting into their earnings.

City officials refute the cab drivers' claim that the rules aren't being enforced. 

"Uber is complying," Tracey Cook, executive director of Toronto's municipal licensing and standards division, told CBC News in an email Monday. She wrote that the city is working with Uber through the licensing process and that the company has provided the required documentation to the city.

"Procedural and electronic changes to the bylaw take time," she wrote, adding there are currently no instances of non-compliance, so the city hasn't had to enforce the bylaw. 

Mughal, however, said cab drivers continue to be hit hard by having so many Uber vehicles on the road.

"We are suffering. We are suffering significantly," he said.

Last December, cab drivers slowed routes around the city before blocking the busy intersection at Queen and Bay Streets, just south of city hall. Drivers also threatened to strike during the NBA All-Star weekend in February. 

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