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Cabbies go on strike in Sanya and Yongdeng
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Cab drivers in two more places have gone on strike, seeking government intervention to reduce the "high monthly rentals" they pay to vehicle owners and ban unlicensed taxis.

Taxis in Sanya stops work.

Taxis in Sanya stop work. 

The taxi strike in Sanya, a major tourist city in Hainan province, and Yongdeng county, Gansu province, comes a week after cabbies in Chongqing went on a two-day strike.

No cabs were seen in Sanya yesterday, when more than 200 cabbies began gathering in front of the municipal government building around 6 am.

Chen Chao, deputy secretary-general of the local government, and a senior official of the local traffic administration, reached the spot to hold talks with the taxi drivers, but the cabbies refused to do so.

The protest was orderly till the afternoon, when striking drivers tried to stop a cabbie from driving his vehicle. One of the drivers fainted in the scuffle that followed and was taken to hospital.

Police have detained about 10 drivers for the scuffle that lasted a few minutes, after which the cabbies dispersed.

Sanya has about 1,200 licensed taxis, owned by six companies, the cabbies said.

Some of the companies have ignored the municipal government directive of reducing monthly rentals the cabbies pay to vehicle owners from 7,200 yuan ($1,054) to an average of 5,300 yuan from Jan 1, a driver surnamed Zhang said.

Cabbies in Yongdeng gathered near the county's transport bureau office building yesterday, demanding the local government ban illegal taxis.

"There are about 280 licensed cabs in the county, and drivers of about 160 are on strike," said Ma Jiangshan, a representative of the striking drivers.

Illegal taxis in Yongdeng, which could number 700, are stealing licensed cabbies' business, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 11, 2008)

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