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Drivers protest over LVC licence discrepancies and seized vehicles

Illustration picture shows the start of a protest action early morning in the streets of Brussels of the LVC sector (location of car with a driver), regarding the Plan Taxi of Brussels region, Monday 24 January 2022. (BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS)
06:23 25/01/2022

About 100 drivers who hold the LVC (car rental with driver) licence protested in Brussels on Monday morning against the recent seizures of several vehicles with Walloon and Flemish authorisations which took place in the capital recently.

The protest was in support of Uber drivers from the capital who hold Flemish and Walloon licences but who are now being sanctioned under new conditions agreed by the Brussels government and Uber, which allowed the company to resume operations. Many of these drivers, according to their supporters, obtained their licences from outside of Brussels as it was easier and have been working in the capital for years.

However, despite the show of support on Monday, there was a clear division in the ranks with some drivers calling for Uber to either limit the Brussels market to Brussels licences only or to reopen the Flemish market - which includes Zaventem airport - to other licenses.

The Union of Belgian Limousine Drivers has sided with the group supporting LVC drivers with Brussels licences, while the Union of Private Chauffeurs (USCP) and the Belgian Association of Limousine Drivers (ABCL) remain in solidarity with workers with Flemish and Walloon licences.

"We want to first stop the seizures of vehicles, then transfer Walloon and Flemish licences to the Brussels system," said Fernando Redondo, the president of the ABCL. "These are Brussels residents, who work in Brussels, pay their taxes in Brussels and whose company is in Brussels. They took licences in other regions for ease and because there was then no obligation to be domiciled there."

After the demonstration started on Boulevard Pachéco, close to Botanique, the protestors made their way to Boulevard du Régent, where they gathered in front of the office of Brussels minister-president Rudi Vervoort.

After a delegation met with Vervoort, the representatives of the LVC drivers announced that they will suspend any new demonstrations until 7 February, adding that they will await the position of the authorities on three disputed vehicle seizures before deciding on any further action.

Written by Nick Amies