|Protestant Coalition Airport Protest Planned|
Thanks to the continual shut-downs of our Facebook page, LAD lost contact with the taxi driver, but he contacted us again this week following the so-called Protestant Coalition’s announcement of a protest at City Airport tomorrow (25/10/2013) to complain about a perceived anti-Protestant agenda behind the recent transfer of the airport taxi contract from the current firm to Value Cabs. Many of the Catholic drivers who were forced out of their airport taxi jobs have since found alternative work and want to put the whole episode behind them. Our source was of the same opinion until the so-called Protestant Coalition started sabre-rattling.
|Protestant Coalition - more sectarian bullshit|
We've been told that until April 2012, the Belfast City Airport taxi rank was run as a not-for-profit co-operative into which every driver paid £3000 to join, a further £500 (which was then returned) to help get the co-operative started, and then between £70 and £90 a week membership. The co-operative worked well at the start, having one Protestant and one catholic driver serving as chief operators. Then the Catholic operator became ill and left his position, leaving a vacancy which was filled, not by a Catholic, but by five Protestant drivers.
When the Catholic drivers complained and asked for representation they were told "This is East Belfast, just count yourself lucky you're allowed to work here at all".
In April 2012 two men, Michael Irvine and John Busby applied to Companies House to become directors of the enterprise, and convert it from a co-operative into a company. The first many of the drivers heard of this was almost a year later, in February 2013, and when questions were asked several explanations were given for the sudden change. One explanation was that this move was to protect the co-operative from litigation, another was to prevent cliques forming in the rank, while a third was to avoid liability in the event of a VAT shortfall.
According to our source since then life on the taxi rank at George Best Belfast City Airport has been rife with loyalist initiated sectarian intimidation.
There were Protestant drivers who stood up to the bigots but in many cases the Catholic drivers had to endure vandalism, late night phone calls, and sectarian graffiti. 6 Catholic drivers left, a further 3 were sacked (but reinstated after successful wrongful dismissal hearings).
Understandably fed up management at Belfast City Airport gave all drivers one months notice (as per the terms of the contract) on 24/9/13, Michael Irvine and Busby removed ten catholic drivers from their list of taxi operators. These ten went to different taxi companies in the Short Strand and the Ormeau Road and were put on those company's licences. The airport let the drivers work under these licences, but Irvine said it was a breach of contract and informed his solicitor. At 7pm on Friday 4/10/13 these drivers were told that their airport passes would be revoked at midnight.
On Friday 11th October 2013, the Catholic drivers were put out of the airport taxi service prompting "high fives because they got all the taigs out".
Value Cabs is a Protestant-owned business and whilst this is incidental it does make a mockery of the so-called Protestant Coalition's wild assertions that this move has been motivated by anti-Protestant sectarianism and is an attempt at 'ethnic cleansing'(!!!).
|Protestant Coalition - their 'side' of the story|
If LAD were a more cynical bunch of individuals, we'd think that perhaps the Cab bosses and the Prod Co were in cahoots, and were using their own people as a "flying column of protesters" available to the highest bidder to turn up and pressurise already hard-hit companies into business deals beneficial to leading fleggers.
It seems that racketeering hasn't gone away, it's just subtly changed. The threat of violence has been replaced with the threat of 20 morons dragging down your business
NOTE: The driver who contacted us has supplied us with detailed diaries, photographs and recordings of meetings that took place and intimidation endured. If any legitimate journalists would like to follow up on this story please contact us and we will put you in touch with the driver in question.
The following exchange and use of avatars when we posted this story on our Facebook page perfectly explains why the management of Belfast City Airport were smart to ditch this whole sectarian shower of shite.