Taxi drivers are set to cause disruption to roads in Wolverhampton city centre tomorrow with a 'go slow' protest.
Cabbies from Coventry will descend on the Civic Centre from 12pm to 2pm to demonstrate against Wolverhampton Council's private hire licensing system.
They say the authority has issued thousands of licences to Uber drivers operating all around the country, threatening the livelihoods of black cab drivers in places including Coventry.
A protest organised by the West Midlands Private Hire Drivers' Association, which was also planned for tomorrow, was called off after council bosses threatened anyone taking part with legal action.
The new protest has been organised by the Unite union, which says cabbies have to comply with a large number of criteria and regulations which the Uber drivers can ignore.
Unite regional officer Alan Lewis said: “Coventry taxi drivers who play by the rules are facing having their livelihoods cut from under them by the unthinking actions of Wolverhampton council.
“Wolverhampton Council needs to end the race to the bottom, immediately stop this practice and withdraw licences for drivers not based in their area.”
Councillor Alan Bolshaw, Wolverhampton Council’s licensing committee chairman, said: “It would appear that the taxi trade is riddled with competing factions saying different things which paint a confusing, uncoordinated picture.
"One minute we read the protest is off and then it is back on.
"As far as we can tell, it appears that black cab drivers from Coventry, joined by opportunist local Coventry politicians will now be coming over to Wolverhampton to yet again protest about something we are powerless to change.
"They are angry about changes to national legislation, through the Deregulation Act, which threatens the closed shop that is the traditional taxi industry.
"It is the streets of Westminster rather than Wolverhampton where the taxi trade should take their protest.
"It is not fair to treat the people of Wolverhampton as piggy in the middle.
"Not only this, but staging a go-slow protest in the midday sun on a baking hot day threatens public safety and the organisers should rethink their strategy if they want to get people on-side.”
Wolverhampton Council has come under fire from drivers and other local authorities for exploiting legislation brought in through the 2015 Deregulation Act, which allows drivers to licensed in one area to operate anywhere in the country.
The city has handed out more than 9,000 licences in the last year.
A petition calling for Erewash cabbies to be allowed to have fully-tinted windows in their taxis has been rejected over fears that vehicles could be used to enable the abuse of vulnerable children and adults.