A strike held by Geneva cab drivers at the airport as part of a protest against illegal taxis from other countries has ended.

The strike, which began on Thursday morning, came to an end on Friday evening after Geneva minister Mauro Poggia spoke by telephone with representatives of the disgruntled group.

The roughly 100 protesting cab drivers had taken turns occupying parking spots reserved for taxis at Switzerland’s second-largest airport. The reason behind the strike was so-called “cabotage” behaviour whereby unauthorised vehicles from France, Lithuania, Hungary, Estonia or other countries offer cut-rate fares from the airport, said the taxi union.

The union claims that the illegal taxis offer rides to nearby popular ski stations, such as Chamonix in neighbouring France, for as little as €35 (CHF39.60). That’s compared to an estimated fare of more than CHF300 for a Swiss taxi covering the same distance, according to the TaxiFareFinderexternal link website.

Geneva’s taxi union argues that non-Swiss taxi operators can offer a lower fare because they do not pay VAT, social security contributions or have fare metres installed. Taxi drivers in Geneva pay an annual tax of around CHF1,400 ($1,426) for inspections.

The striking taxi drivers have requested a meeting with the airport’s management. They want regular monitoring and inspection via a taxi police force, as well as by the Geneva Cantonal Office of Inspection and Labour Relations. For its part, the Geneva airport management said it is in favour of a formal meeting with all the stakeholders involved.

“Everyone has an interest in ensuring that transport is carried out in accordance with the law,” said airport spokesperson Madeleine von Holzen.

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