Muslim Minicab Drivers At Heathrow Airport Forced To Pray In A Bus Stop as the terminal’s prayer rooms are closed
There is a growing feeling of resentment among Muslim minicab drivers working at Heathrow Airport, as the prayer rooms inside the airport terminal are off-limits due to coronavirus restrictions, and they are being forced to pray in a bus stop car park each day.
Zamir Dreni, a private hire driver working at the airport, described the situation as being “inhumane and degrading. Recently, conditions have deteriorated to the point that I believe they are dangerous,” he said to the BBC.
Mr Dreni, aged 40, added, “I feel that the airport authorities treat us with complete contempt. We have tried talking to them, we even prepared a petition, but they have refused to listen to us or to take responsibility for the problems here”.
This has come about as a result of the prayer rooms inside the airport terminal being off-limits due to coronavirus restrictions, which has resulted in the drivers praying on the kerb of the road for more than a year, but conditions have worsened recently.
James Farrar, the general secretary of the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) said the Muslim minicab drivers felt “upset, humiliated and angry after conditions came to a disgusting crescendo. People are praying in close proximity to moving traffic, it becomes a real risk for them”.
Mr Farrar added, “If you are a devout Muslim, you must pray and too often it is inside that car park. What can we do?”, adding that the union was “calling for safe, sanitary and dignified working conditions”, after recent complaints from drivers that there was no hot water and soap in the toilet facilities.
A spokeswoman for Heathrow Airport said, “The airport’s cleaning contractors regularly inspect and clean the facilities during peak periods, but we also expect the drivers using the site to keep the facilities in good condition”, adding they were not able to provide facilities in the car park due to “health and safety concerns”.
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