Ecuador’s Federation of Taxis Operators (Fedotaxi) announced yesterday that its members will stage a nationwide strike and protest Wednesday, February 27.
According to Fedotaxi president Jorge Calderón, the strike has been called because of the government’s failure to compensate licensed taxi drivers for the increased cost of gasoline.
“Next Wednesday, February 27 there will be a national mobilization of the taxi drivers against the lies of the government and for the indignity shown to professional drivers,” Calderón said. “We will no longer accept the empty promises, blackmail and jeers of the authorities.”
The government admits that it has failed to deliver cards to taxi owners allowing them to recoup the difference between the old price of regular, or Ecopais, gasoline and the new price. Under the plan announced by the government when it raised prices in December, taxi owners in Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta, Portoviejo, Machala and Santo Domingo would receive 270 gallons of gasoline free each month, which the government said would cover the 37-cent per gallon price increase.
Taxi drivers in smaller cities and towns, were promised 230 and 210 gallons of free gas, depending on the size of their communities.
Because of “administrative problems,” the government said it has not yet been able to distribute the cards to taxi owners but is working to solve the problem.
“We are no longer interested in the original plan to compensate us with gasoline,” Calderón said. “We demand that government immediately rescind the price increase for all customers.”
The National Police have warned Fedotaxi that acts of civil disobedience that obstruct traffic on public roadways is illegal and those responsible for it will be fined or jailed.