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Some Edmonton cab drivers are being locked out by their employer after joining in a rotating strike that began last Monday.
One of the drivers now unable to return to work is the President of the United Cab Association of Edmonton.
Balraj Manhas says the Edmonton Taxi Service Group is sending out letters to cab drivers it sees on the picket line, telling them they won't be allowed to return to work until the matter is settled.
"I was in the office on Friday to get a letter from the company and this employer was so mad at me - - I can't believe that," remarked Manhas. "He was so frustrated with the rotating strike."
The cabbies are being backed by the Teamsters Union Local 987, and its Secretary Treasurer David Froelich says it's disappointing the ETSG would rather lock out drivers then return to the bargaining table.
"Clearly we're going to be taking this up with the Labour Board," said Froelich. "We don't think it's fair game. The employer simply deactivates their computers."
One of the main issues for cab drivers is a hefty surcharge for being involved in a so-called preventable accident, which the company claims has reduced accidents by 60 percent over the last two years.
The cabbies have suspended their rotating strike for Monday, but say they'll be back at it on Tuesday if the company doesn't agree to return to the table.
Also on Monday, the Labour Board will be deciding if the Westin Hotel can be considered a place of employment for the drivers who want to continue striking outside the building.
The cabbies have also been picketing outside the Hotel Macdonald.
Froelich says they should be allowed to do so because each hotel has a permanent taxi stand for the drivers.
Meanwhile, he's hoping both sides can still work things out.
"We've said we will make every effort to negotiate with this employer, and we hope that we can sit down and hammer out a deal, there's not that much dividing us." (td)