Taxi’s take flight once again! But for how long?
The taxi strike at Dublin Airport was been called off this morning and drivers returned to normal working practice as a deal has been reached with the DAA.
The DAA will restore disputed parking spaces for two weeks, during which time a permanent resolution has to be agreed with taxi Association reps.
The disagreement centered around access to spaces in an overflow area for drivers awaiting access to ranks. DAA said there are 55 disputed spaces, while taxi representatives said there are 70.
The parties were locked in overnight talks with an independent mediator until 5.30am in a Dublin hotel.
While no final agreement was reached the mediator, Sheamus Sweeney, drew up a plan for the issue to be resolved by September 7th.
All sides have vowed to enter intensive negotiations to end the dispute by the date, which will not be extended.
If not, DAA can continue with its plans to cut spaces and taxi drivers could step up their industrial action.
Jerry Brennan, of the National Irish Taxi Association, said members view the plan as positive.
“The concrete barriers which were put in the way, blocking the parking bays for the drivers, will be removed today as soon as possible,” he said. “We have that on good faith from the DAA.
“So what we now have is a very important job of work to do in the next two weeks. Everybody has to get their shoulders to the wheel.”
Some 1,500 drivers are licensed to pick up fares at the airport and there have been 600 spaces for drivers since 2010 when terminal 2 was developed.
The DAA said they removed some of the 170 spaces in a holding area, with notice, as they needed them for commercial use.
Drivers said they had no choice but to strike when the spaces where cut, as they were given tickets by gardaí when they parked on roads. It is understood those fines have been rescinded.
Around 400 drivers caused severe traffic congestion in and around the airport when they took part in three slow driving protests.
Passengers arriving back on short and long-haul flights have been directed on to buses and rental cars for onward journeys since Wednesday morning.
DAA said there are about 75 spaces on ranks at the two terminals and an automatic system to call drivers forward to fill spaces and collect fares.
Drivers have said they want an automatic system to call one driver to a rank at a time to ensure they secure trade based on how long they have been waiting in the airport.