Faced with the prospect that the law regulating transport vehicles with drivers (VTC) be approved in the Madrid Assembly in a single reading, without debate or arguments, several hundred taxi drivers have paraded through Madrid, between the Cibeles roundabout and the beginning of Calle Alcalá, without reaching Puerta del Sol, to show their rejection. “The PP government has deceived us, it has taken us for a ride,” Julio Sanz, president of the Madrid Professional Taxi Federation (FPTM), the majority in the sector, has criticized. The law that the Executive of Isabel Díaz Ayuso intends to approve will allow VTCs to continue making urban journeys – which until now they could only do by virtue of a state moratorium that is about to expire – and does not provide for a sanctioning regime for infractions.
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“Both the Minister of Transport [David Pérez] like the president they said they would meet with us as many times as necessary”, Sanz protested to the media in Cibeles, where he has disgraced the regional government that “legislates only for one part”, in reference to the VTC sector, and has compared the Madrid procedure with that of other communities governed by the popular, such as Murcia or Galicia, where the regulations for vehicles on demand were approved with the help of the taxi sector. The president of the FPTM has recalled that last year the Community of Madrid “had to keep” the regulations governing the taxi after the Superior Court of Justice annulled it for having submitted a text substantially different from the one approved after .
The march has been preceded by the occupation of four lanes of Paseo del Prado, between Neptuno and Cibeles, by 190 taxis. There were, for example, Javier Cidoncha, 46, and Fernando Carrero, 54, who insisted that with their protest they did not intend to take anyone’s job, but that drivers of “black cars” with a VTC license are normally precarious workers, many times “migrants who come to look for life” and who work without schedules or guarantees.
Although the disagreements between the Madrid taxi drivers and the PP governments are not recent, the belligerence in a guild that popular clichés have always associated with the political right can still surprise. “Money is not from the right or from the left,” taxi driver Carrero replied to this, while Cidoncha boasted of working-class credentials: “I’m from Puente de Vallecas, you’ll tell me.” The urgent approval of the norm will depend, however, on the position of Vox, which can force the law to be processed through the ordinary channel if it votes against it tomorrow in the plenary session of the Madrid Assembly, as they have already announced they will do opposition parties (Podemos deputy Alejandra Jacinto accompanied the demonstration). “Vox has been consistent so far,” said Julio Sanz, who trusts the negative vote of the formation.
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In any case, the march has advanced peacefully, led by a truck since 10 euro bills with Ayuso’s face were launched between the music from the speakers through which an eclectic mix has been played, from the obvious ‘El taxi’, from Osmani García, to Alaskan classics or even the partisan ‘Bella ciao’, which would clash, a priori, with one of the banners near the header, with the message “globalization or homeland”, very much in vogue lately in some speeches of the ‘alternative’ right. “The united taxi will never be defeated” or “hands up, this is a robbery”, the attendees, who were around a thousand, have chanted, and carried other banners with more specific slogans, such as “Ayuso, abuse” or “Ayuso, pro companies sympathetic to his party. Regarding the latter, some attendees commented on the coincidence that the president of the Unauto VTC employers’ association, José Manuel Berzal, had been a councilor and regional deputy of the PP in Madrid.
Faced with the prospect that the norm is finally approved as it is proposed by the PP, the FPTM is not considering going on strike at the moment. “We are not in that, we must not harm the user, we are going to be optimistic”, opposed the president, who, however, has warned that rights can be fought “in the offices, in the courts and in the street”. “The last time it went really bad,” recalls the taxi driver Cidoncha regarding the 2019 strike, also because of the regulatory laxity with the VTCs.