Black cab drivers are staging new go-slow protests from today and "for the foreseeable future" after claiming the council scrapped Clean Air Zone 'peace talks'.

The cabbbies halted demonstrations last week in order to hold discussions with the council's licensing chiefs.

But a statement from the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union today confirmed the demonstrations would restart - with the first one taking place today (Tuesday) between 3pm and 6pm.

There will then be a demonstration every day at the same time until at least Friday May 17.

Taxi drivers protest with a go-slow around the city centre. Birmingham.

The RMT union claims talks with city licensing chiefs had broken down forcing further action to be taken.

The statement said: "RMT taxi drivers will be protesting again in Birmingham today and for the foreseeable future after the Council scrapped planned talks aimed at reaching a solution to the long going row over the bulldozing through of policies that would decimate the licensed taxi trade in the City and the standards of living of those involved in it.

"For the last two weeks, RMT members who are taxi drivers in Birmingham have been engaged in protest action in an attempt to persuade the City Council to re-open talks on how the financial impact of the councils policies could be mitigated so that the taxi drivers would not be plunged into greater financial hardship.
 
"On 2nd May 2019 the RMT Midlands Regional Council President received a communication from Councillor Barbara Dring indicating she would be prepared to meet with the taxi drivers for further discussions at 9am on Tuesday 7th May 2019 - this was on the basis the taxi drivers suspended their protests which they duly did. 
 
"However, just 24 hours later RMT’s Regional President Raja Amin received a further email from Emma Rohomon - the acting head of licensing at Birmingham City Council advising that no changes could be made to anything and that no one from the council would be attending any meetings – affectively wrecking todays talks before they even started."

Taxi drivers protest with a go-slow around the city centre. Birmingham.

Cabbies launched go-slow demonstrations in Birmingham two weeks ago after the council approved a new emissions policy for Hackney carriage and private hire drivers.

Essentially, the proposals meant that their vehicles would have to adhere to age restrictions instead of the Euro 4 (petrol) and Euro 6 (diesel) vehicle standards applying to everyone else.

While from 2021 all newly licensed taxis will have to be ultra low emission, after the date was brought forward from 2026.

RMT organiser, Raja Amin, argues with a police officer

As part of its Clean Air Zone business case accepted by the Government the council has also secured £15m worth of funding to support black cab and private hire drivers, including money to operate a Hackney carriage leasing scheme and sums to help drivers replace or upgrade their vehicles.

Hundreds of existing black cabs stand to be hit by the daily £8 Clean Air Zone charge from January 2020 with drivers arguing their livelihoods are at risk.

 

Despite a number of changes to the emissions policy made following a consultation, the RMT claimed their concerns have not been listened to and that they have been 'steamrolled'.

They have made a number of demands, including reverting back to the 2026 date for newly licensed vehicles, an exemption from the Clean Air Zone , and more money towards replacing or upgrading vehicles.

So far the council has remained firm on its policy.

Birmingham City Council has been contacted for comment.