COVENTRY taxi drivers are set to return to work today after voting last night to call off their strike.
Leaders say about 500 striking cabbies voted unanimously in favour of bringing a halt to eight days of widespread disruption.
They will go back to work today providing councillor Lindsley Harvard, as expected, formally rubber-stamps his plan for a three-month review into demand for taxis.
The cabbies claim there are too many taxis in the city.
They had been pressing for a temporary cap on licences while the review is carried out, but the council refused to back down.
Imran Zaman, chairman of Coventry Taxi Association, said he persuaded members to vote for a return to work, adding: “There was nothing else we could do.”
The vote followed the first talks yesterday with council chiefs since the strike began last Tuesday – as scores of cabbies protested outside.
Coun Harvard has told the drivers that, depending on the review’s findings, he would consider stopping Coventry City Council issuing any more taxi licences – the strikers’ key demand.
But the dispute is set to continue in the High Court, with the taxi association considering seeking a judicial review into the council’s refusal to impose a temporary cap on licences while the three-month review is carried out.
Coun Harvard was acting on advice from lawyers that imposing a cap now could result in the council being sued by other cabbies.
He is expected to rubber-stamp his plans – approved by fellow ruling Labour councillors on Monday – at his city services cabinet member’s meeting today.
The dispute has seen massive disruption with strikers blockading the city’s taxi ranks, preventing them being used by working cabbies.
A cavalcade of cabbies also staged a go-slow protest on the ring road during the evening rush-hour last Wednesday, and strikers have refused to do council-contracted school runs.
Cabbies say 950 licenced black cabs and private hire vehicles in the city is too many and is damaging their livelihoods.