Spanish taxi drivers continue strike, block cities’ main thoroughfares

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Madrid, Aug 1 (IANS) A taxi strike over how licences are granted to cabs using ride-sharing apps like Uber and Cabify that has blocked roads and paralyzed traffic in Spain’s major cities, including Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, continued on Wednesday despite attempts by the government to solve the industrial action.

The demonstrations began in the northeastern port city of Barcelona on July 25 when a court in Catalonia region suspended a law mandating that companies like Uber and Cabify would receive one licence for every 30 taxis, a move that taxi drivers opposed as being skewed in favour of the newcomers to the trade, Efe news reported.

Officials from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport were set to meet regional governments on Wednesday in a bid to find a solution to a row that was unravelling during the height of the summer vacation season.

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For the third day in a row, hundreds of taxi drivers were blocking Paseo de la Castellana, the capital’s most important thoroughfare connecting the north of Madrid to the centre.

There were fewer vehicles congregating than in previous days, but a spokesperson from the sector said some drivers were resting and would be returning to the roadblock later in the day.

Taxi drivers also continued to strike in Barcelona and in Valencia — Spain’s third largest city.

Public Works Ministry José Luis Ábalos urged taxi drivers on Tuesday to be “responsible” and said there was a need to maintain dialogue, calmness and normality, which would ease negotiations between the two sides.

–IANS

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