Taxi boss says he will no longer offer white drivers on demand after protest by Asian employees
Stephen Campbell, boss of Car 2000 in Heywood, said he was trying to protect drivers from customers who might refuse to get in their vehicles
Stephen Campbell, boss of Car 2000 in Heywood, told the M.E.N. he made the decision after learning of the cabbies’ protest in the town centre last night.
In 2011, Mr Campbell’s family took over the business, which was formerly called Eagle Taxis, and which employed two of the nine men jailed a year later for grooming girls.
Earlier this week, Mr Campbell revealed his staff would provide customers with white – or ‘local’ – drivers on request.
But today he told us Car 2000 would no longer offer this service.
Mr Campbell, 34, said: “The drivers were all aware we did this and said they wouldn’t want to pick up a customer that didn’t want them as a driver.
“But, as soon as they raised this as a problem, I have immediately changed it and have done what they wanted.”
Mr Campbell described one occasion when one of his Asian drivers had been to pick up a customer who refused to get in his car – and this had left the cabbie upset.
He added: “I don’t operate a company that makes people feel bad. I was trying to protect them. But I suppose in protecting them I was contributing to people’s racist beliefs.”
Mr Campbell, who employs a total of 80 drivers at Car 2000, said all his 55 Asian cabbies were on strike today over the row.
He is set to meet with some of them this afternoon to iron out the problems in a bid to get them back to work.
Mr Campbell previously told the M.E.N. that, out of 12,000 calls a week, around 60 would request a ‘local’ or Asian driver.
He said: “Our operators have now been told that no one can do that again.”
Dozens of furious Asian drivers who work for Car 2000 gathered in the centre of Heywood last night to protest about the firm offering white drivers on demand – blasting the service as ‘racist’ and ‘discriminatory’.
They were concerned the policy would reinforce negative stereotypes in the town and described how their cars had regularly been attacked following the grooming scandal.
One driver, Abdul Hafiz, said: “There were some bad men who worked as taxi drivers in Heywood and now they are in prison.
“We have done nothing wrong but now we are being treated like paedophiles.”