Wagga cab drivers are threatening potential strike action and boycotting two of the city’s taxi ranks, claiming security guards are “useless” when it comes to protecting cabbies from aggressive customers.
Outraged cab driver Joseph Smith said security guards provided by Eagle Eye Security, who safeguard the Station Street and Gurwood Street taxi ranks on Friday and Saturday nights, were “completely incompetent”, resulting in increased cases of drivers being harassed and assaulted.
"We've had three or four incidents at the rank involving cab drivers getting assaulted and the guards haven't lifted a finger to do anything,” he said.
"It makes me feel really vulnerable during my night shift.
“You know if you have competent security guards you'll be safe to a degree, but the way things are at the moment, we don't get that protection from the Eagle Eye guards.”
Employed by the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS), Eagle Eye Security took over patrolling the two centrally located taxi ranks six months ago, replacing guards from the previous security company, Midlands Security.
According to an RMS spokesperson, companies who applied for the tender to guard the ranks had to be registered as contractors with Roads and Maritime to ensure they were “appropriate to deliver the services required”. At the time, Midlands was not on the approved contractors list.
Local driver David Southgate said the Midlands Security guards were much more efficient when it came to controlling potentially unruly and dangerous crowds at the taxi ranks.
“You're always going to get disharmony when you have 30 or 40 people waiting to get home, but the Eagle Eye guards don't do anything about it,” he said.
“They don't try to keep people calm to avoid dangerous situations. "Midlands security would keep people calm and orderly, making the job safe and easy."
Mr Southgate said multiple drivers had expressed concerns to the RMS, though no action had been taken.
Mr Smith, who is also the Transport Workers Union drivers delegate, said some of the drivers were considering boycotting the two ranks and could even turn to strike action unless changes were made to improve driver safety conditions.