View Full Version : Melbourne Airport Protest

4th May 2013, 02:45
A day of heated protests over a change to the short-fares system led to hundreds of taxi drivers declaring a boycott of the airport.
Victoria Police critical incident response team officers armed with capsicum spray were deployed, as local and federal police and airport security officers struggled to contain more than 300 drivers protesting near the arrivals terminal.
Authorities appealed for calm as several scuffles broke out. Police escorted some protesters away.

Taxi drivers protest at Melbourne Airport over the end of short-fare queues | News.com.au (http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/taxi-drivers-protest-at-melbourne-airport-over-the-end-of-short-fare-queues/story-e6frfq80-1226634223708)


4th May 2013, 02:50
I think I counted 3 Aussie cab drivers in that lot.

4th May 2013, 02:51
This video always makes me want to laugh...

Australian bike gangs war .Hells Angels and Comancheros - YouTube


Edited to say thanks to the weirdo and Amanda!

Worrals in the wilds
4th May 2013, 08:31
"If the drivers and the industry want to talk to the airport about a better way to handle short fares, (we're) very happy to have that conversation," he said.
How about having that conversation before changing the system rather than after :bored:?
From the footage it looked more noisy than violent, but I maybe there were a few punches thrown off-camera. Either way, airport taxi rank marshals and cabbies get on like a house on fire. Ever been in a burning house? :} (To pinch a Pratchett quote).

Caco, the untold story...:} I gotta ask, what's your thing with Aussie OCMGs? Other countries have bikies too, even in 'we're so perfect' Scandinavia. :confused:
Easy Lamb Roast - Like a Mum - Australian Lamb TV Commercial Ad - YouTube

4th May 2013, 08:44

Don't disagree with the airport should have spoken to them before
changing the system, however what they did is no way to go
about it and the Police / Security will always be heavy on them
if they decide to BLOCK the entrance.

The more they do it, the more heads will get kicked and
the rightly so IMHO and a lot of other people's opinion.

Buster Hyman
4th May 2013, 08:46
As much as it pains me to say it...I actually agree with the taxi drivers on this one. (It's ok...its an anonymous forum.)

Years ago, they informally allowed the "delivery" taxi's to pick up fares from the Arrivals floor. I used this all the time as I lived only 7 minutes away. They dropped this in favour of the short fare system, whereby if a driver returns within 30mins of his fare, then he can short cut the queue. When you've been sitting in a rank for 5 hours, only get paid a percentage of the fares you collect, and get a 10 minute fare...you can see why short haul fares get short shrift!

4th May 2013, 08:58
I don't disagree with them either but the way they went about it
wasn't going to win them any friends.

Worrals in the wilds
4th May 2013, 09:08
Sure, 500N. That's the problem with disorganized protests. An organized protest would have gotten the point across without blocking the doors, but when a bunch of low paid people suddenly find their job's been made even harder they're going to get cranky.

A successful protest is often a bit of a set piece battle where the boundaries are drawn up prior to the event. When that doesn't happen, this is what you get. Organizing a protest is as much about damping down the firebrands on both sides and working out a compromise position where you can get the point across as it is about making a noise.

Small plug for the cause, but after all, it is the May Day weekend...

Thanks for the detail Buster, I wasn't sure what the setup was in Melbourne. In Brisbane and Coolie it's first in best dressed, so the drivers wait in the queue for an hour and maybe get the Golden Fleece Fare to the Gold Coast or Brisbane, or get the Raw Prawn Fare to Hendra / Currumbin. At least the Melbourne system tried to address that, even if some people rorted it. Of course some people will rort anything, which doesn't mean that the airport should throw their hands in the air and say it's all insolvable.

One thing's for sure; airports cannot function without taxis. Most of them (Sydney excepted) have such hopeless public transport infrastructure that without cabs they're screwed. Being a chatty person I talk to cabbies of all shapes and accents, and most of them say they never go within a bull's roar of the airport because of the queue roulette. They're better off sticking to the CBD, and that's not good for the queue situation at the airport.

4th May 2013, 09:30

What on earth is that,it's almost as bad as the EU rag. !!:E

4th May 2013, 10:04

They, that is the protesters, made a fundamental mistake
in blocking a MAJOR piece of Victorian Transport infrastructure
that also has major implications for Tourism as well.

That alone, regardless of any violence would have meant
the Gov't would have said "get rid of them asap". Just like
they did the group in the city - when the time came that
was it.

Agree re organised, pre planning. If they had done that with the
Police, like all other protests are, they could have made as much noise as they liked as long as they didn't hinder access to the airport.

They crossed "the line" at the start, not later on and no way
was the Gov't or the airport going to budge an inch on that one.

And anyway, if they don't like being a Taxi driver, they should
get another job.

Buster Hyman
4th May 2013, 10:22
Civilised protest is an alien concept to some. The belief that causing an uproar will get press for their cause is sadly, the only option considered in many cases.

Technology exists that would make this problem, and the rorting, go away. Nobody is interested in additional costs to make the system work. :ugh:

Gunbus. That rag to some, is a symbol for the tax avoiders, oppressed & downtrodden. For others, it is one of the earliest forms of organised racism. The Trade Union movement have hijacked it for their cause...I'll let you decide how they see it. :confused:

4th May 2013, 11:00
The Eureka flag IIRC was first hijacked by Norman Gallagher's
Builders Laborers Federation (Marxist-Leninist) in the early 70s,
and wended its way to John Halfpenny's Amalgamated Workers
Union (Trotskyite) in the later part of that decade.

Both were active members of the local Communist Party.

Worrals in the wilds
4th May 2013, 11:12
What on earth is that,it's almost as bad as the EU rag. !!http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/evil.gifThe Eureka Flag. It is far older than the EU Flag.
Australia's Heritage: National Treasures - Eureka Flag (http://www.nfsa.gov.au/digitallearning/heritage/eureka.html)
I'll concede Buster's point re organised racism (I'd be a mug not to :\) but it has also become the flag of the union movement, particularly the more blue collar (much as I hate the term) unions. Like any flag it has variously been hijacked by people with all sorts of agendas; good, bad and indifferent.

Flags mean different things to different people. This is a flag I have marched under (and will do so tomorrow) and to me it represents the worker collective versus the big company. It represents the counter-argument to the slimy git from HR telling me that we're a bunch of idiots who are gonna get reamed. It's the flag that flies against Affordable Safety :yuk:.

It is the flag that counters that argument and says; okay, you want to ream, even though your profit figures are off the scale. Remember that your company needs a few hundred people turning the handles to keep those profits happening, and remember that just because we wear yellow shirts and big boots does not mean that we are idiots who will be paid in potatoes. It's the flag that says Game On; you want your big profit? Remember the guys who keep it happening.

Civilised protest is an alien concept to some. I'll retell a story from the War in Oz files. A year or so ago the United Voice union (formerly known as the Missos, the LHMU or That Bunch Of Pricks :}) ran a campaign for high rise office block cleaners. Small, forgettable people, largely foreign and being rampantly exploited by a couple of big multinational companies and a few local jerks.

UV planned an IR campaign that involved approved lunchtime street marches and a giant flushing toilet on a truck. No major disruption and full police co-operation, just a 'getting the point across' campaign that aimed to reach the thousands of city workers who took their buildlings' cleanliness for granted.

Unlike the Melbourne Airport protest these were organized marches that didn't block any access or result in any punch-ons.

Their members were mainly ethnic (Indian/Phillipino/African) males/females and Australian females . When they first had their discussions with members, the Aussie girls were fine; they knew the drill. The ethnos were interesting. The ethnic women stepped back on masse and the blokes (as a group) said 'No. We won't protest. We don't want violence'.

The mainly Aussie Missos were :confused:. They explained there would be no violence, that it was an organized and approved protest, that the police were aware of it and would not interfere as long as they kept to the agreed path, that this was all okay. This left the ethnos :confused:. What sort of protest had police approval and no violence? How could this be achieved?? Who would listen???

After much discussion there was agreement, and UV had their protest, complete with ethnic women and a lack of violence. The point was made and many companies signed on to the Clean Start campaign. :ok:

Small group,but there were others.
As Slash has already mentioned, many of these cabbies are ethnos. They're new to Australia and they don't know how to protest here. They're not in the union and they think that like back home there is no choice except violence.

These days, NO-ONE drives a cab because they want to, particularly on night shift. The money's shit and the conditions are worse. There are people making a quid out of cabs but they're the owners, not the drivers. Why are there so many Ethnos driving cabs? Because they have no other choice :sad:. Like Gina told us too:suspect:, they're getting out and working; earning a buck rather than sponging off social welfare. It's a lousy buck and they get abused, ripped off and paid a pittance to do it.

Of course civilised protest is an alien concept; it's like meat pies. We take it for granted, but to many of these people it's so weird that they hadn't considered it as an option.

If Australia is to accept people from other cultures (and I realise that's a debateable point) then we must educate them on what's right and what's wrong. These cabbies know when they're copping the wrong end of the stick. If they don't know how to address that in a 'civilised' fashion (where civilised is defined as not blocking the door and not getting too violent) then who's gonna teach them? If not us, then who?

4th May 2013, 12:28
Living on the other side of town to Melbourne airport, cab fares cost me nearly $100. This expense has forced me to consider other alternatives. There is an infrequent bus that can do it for $25 if their schedule suits, otherwise I can train it to the city for $3 and bus it to the airport for another $15. If it's late and the trains are unsafe I can catch a cab to the city for about $30 and bus it for another $15.

So what does that mean? Most people like me who cannot claim the cab fare as a company expense or are not super rich, and have to travel some distance will use an alternative means of transport (read no big cab fare). Where as those that live nearby can afford and will use the convenience of a taxi (read small cab fare).

This means that most of the cabs at the airport are simply waiting for that big fare that is now really few and far between, which is a big waste of their efforts. The new system that was just introduced makes it even unfairer for cab driver's efforts. A fairer system would be to have two cab ranks, the lucrative but infrequent city centre route, and everything else, then let the cab drivers decide which queue they want to work.


4th May 2013, 12:32

"And anyway, if they don't like being a Taxi driver, they should
get another job."

An astonishingly ignorant remark.....ya think they WANT to work as cabbies?? Do a 12 hour shift from say 18:00 to 06:00 and then what? Attend night school?, Can't back at work at 18:00, do it in the day if it were available? How much do you take in after a 12 hour back of the clock shift?

And after all that, if you could sort it / arrange it.........doesn't necessarily mean you could afford it.....education was made a business, and as such, not everyone can afford it, but if you were able to manage all of that.....and you're searching the job pages on the internet at the library, cos after trying to pay for an education on a minimum wage you can't afford a laptop / tablet anyway, where exactly do you get the 'Must have at least 3 years previous experience in a similar role?



A dear old friend once drove taxis in Hobart town....for many a year. I remember he told me (and he told me this 20 odd years ago), he told me of a protest they had years before, where they did in actual fact, boycott the airport. None drove out there, and refused fares to go there.....I forget the issue they had, but the effect was enough to reverse whatever it was that Hobart airport changed......no protest, just a real boycott :D

But this was so long ago, and the cabbies probably all knew each other, and they all sat around a city rank one night and agreed on a common action.....this too in days well before mobile phones...

(cough cough, certain pilot groups could learn from a unified stance of a bunch of 1970's cab drivers....)

4th May 2013, 12:39
Not saying this would suit everyone - but it sure works for me.
Come in from 70kms out, it is the best.
No interest in their operations other than well worth a try!
Melbourne Airport Parking - Andrew's Airport Parking (http://www.andrewsairportpark.com.au/Melbourne.aspx)

4th May 2013, 13:00
Long term parking at Melbourne Airport is colloquially known as Pick-a-Part.

Buster Hyman
4th May 2013, 13:26
There's no legislation forcing them into the Airport rank, so Fleigs' suggestion would be far more effective. Public transport out there has improved, but you'll only ever catch the Smartbus to Broady station once in your life!!!! :eek:

4th May 2013, 13:49
Thanks Buster...not so much my suggestion as relaying a friends story of success, peacefully and without recourse to blockades, violence whatever!

Tried to get from Manhattan out to La Guardia a few years back, 05:00 local, freezing cold, 3 inches of snow everywhere!....every single cab rolled up windows when I said 'La Guardia', sure it's another country and that was weather not industrial....

4th May 2013, 17:17

I knew I'd get a bite from someone :O

4th May 2013, 17:51
(cough cough, certain pilot groups could learn from a unified stance of a bunch of 1970's cab drivers....)

pilots don't own the plane. It's easy to replace cheap labour but not an expensive cab and driver.

Pilots need to ban together and own their own transport aircraft, then they could charge higher rates.

But watch out if the rest don't go along with this

5th May 2013, 01:16
Talking to a rural cab driver, (also a good friend), yesterday who also does the big functions in Melbourne, he says the main problem at Melbourne is that cabbies have been rorting the short-queue system regularly, they have been warned several times by airport authority but taken no notice, the rorting continued. The regular, honest cabbies asked for the system to either be properly run or cancelled. What we actually saw was the regular rorters complaining that the short-queue has been stopped and getting no support from the remaining cabbies who they have been 'stiffing' for quite a while, altogether a totally lost cause that the police, airport authorities etc. will have no truck with.

My sympathies are with the honest cabbies.

5th May 2013, 02:36
On the very rare occasions I've visited back to Oz I've NEVER taken
a cab from any airport. Up till 2003 one could choose which cab one
wanted to take and I would choose only Australian cabbies - I had
too many bloody problems with the Pakis and Indians.

After 2003 (2005 when I went back) I was rudely told to take what
I'm given (the next cab in the rank) and its law that I can't choose
who's frigging taxi I want to take. I used to circumvent this crap by
letting the person behind in queue grab a cab I didn't want until an
Aussie appeared, but on my last trip to MEL they were so few I gave
up and took a compact rental over the road instead. Of course it cost
more but I was able to get to my destinations directly and efficiently
without some foreigner bitching and moaning in some unintelligible
dialect under his breath and getting lost/missing turns or screwing up
the infamous "Special Five" in town. Perhaps I just never struck the
good ones (if indeed there are any).

So - whatever happened to freedom of choice in the "lucky country"?

But the worst cabbies I've ever had were La Guardia (La Garbage) and
Heathrow. Catching acceptable NYC cabs is an art in itself - timing is

Flying Binghi
5th May 2013, 04:01
...I'm given (the next cab in the rank) and its law that I can't choose
who's frigging taxi I want to take...

News to me. I refuse to get in those mini 'bus' things. The odd time when a 'bus' driver objects He gets told if I'm to take a bus I will pay a bus fare, full stop.

If I'm paying for a taxi cab - I want a taxi cab, not a friggen bus..:cool:


5th May 2013, 04:14

That's the way to do it. Wait until you see a driver you want.
No law about letting the people behind going in front of you.

5th May 2013, 22:56
Seems one of the Taxi cab companies has got involved
and told the drivers to stand down and discussions will
be held this week with the airport.

It also seems that the Police were not going to allow
another blockade this morning.

Worrals in the wilds
6th May 2013, 04:00
Thanks for the info, parabellum. Without registration plate readers it would be a really difficult system to enforce fairly.