Following the announcement from Welsh government regarding the white paper on Improving Public Transport, Unite Wales welcomes the end of deregulation in the sector, but encourages urgent dialogue with ministers to protect members’ terms and conditions. While the statement on the bus industry in Wales is welcome, there is disappointment that the proposals to reform the taxi and private hire trade have been decoupled and deferred until the next assembly term.

Unite Wales regional officer Alan McCarthy said: “Deregulation lead to the preposterous situation whereby the communities that desperately need bus services, and the local authorities in which they live, have little or no say in the services being provided.

“Local authorities must have control over where routes run in order to ensure communities are well served and this announcement is a positive step in providing councils with this control. However, this model is not without risks to workers.

“Aggressive competitive tendering has in the past led to a race to the bottom on workers’ pay and conditions. Unite Wales would encourage urgent and ongoing dialogue with the Welsh government to agree mechanisms that would protect workers in this industry, in line with the Social Partnership Act expected this assembly term.”

In relation to the “cross bordering issue” Alan McCarthy added: “Unite Wales members in the Hackney trade are extremely disappointed that urgent steps will not now be taken to address rampant ‘cross-bordering’, and the threat that this poses to public safety and our members’ ability to earn a fair wage.

“The current situation whereby vehicles from nearby licensing authorities can flood to the already busy streets of Cardiff is unsustainable. It prevents individual authorities from fairly applying policy changes such as low emission vehicle implementation, and has a devastating impact on the take home pay of Cardiff license holders, all the while letting the exploitative practices of the ‘gig-economy’ go unchallenged. If the Welsh government is not going to address this, local authorities must.”