France

Paris taxi drivers hit airports, discuss more protests

Taxi drivers block the Paris ringroad on Monday
Taxi drivers block the Paris ringroad on Monday Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

Paris taxi drivers are set to continue strikes and protest actions in an attempt to stop the spread of minicab companies after disrupting traffic around the city's two airports on Monday and Tuesday. Police were called in overnight to clear drivers causing bottlenecks on the Paris ringroad.

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Unions were to meet on Tuesday afternon to discuss further protest action after two days of strikes and drive-slows on motorways between Charles De Gaulle and Orly airports and the capital.

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Dozens of drivers paralysed the Paris ringroad on Monday night until police broke up the protest.

But they regrouped, causing further disruption and going on to the airports in the morning, where some tried to prevent other cars taking passengers and others caused bottlenecks on the A1 motorway.

Union representatives promised more "spontaneous initiatives" this week and next and were to meet on Tuesday afternoon to plan the next coordinated protest.

They were split, however, on whether to support a day of action called by employers' groups on 13 March.

The office of Prime Minister Jean-March Ayrault met a delegation of drivers on Mondey evening and agreed to name a mediator in the dispute.

Taxi-drivers are worried about competition from motorbike-taxis and minicabs, known as "tourist vehicles with driver" (VTCs), which only have to pay 100 euros for a licence comparied to about 230,000 euros for a taxi in Paris.

A decree imposing a 15-minute delay between ordering a VTC and its arrival was scrapped last week.

The taxi drivers want a 30-minute delay and a minimum price of 60 euros for VTCs.

There are about 55,000 taxi drivers in France, 20,000 of them in Paris.

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