One of the biggest demos this trade has seen in past years, stunned TfL, taking them by complete surprise. The trades success in 2009, dealing with the first official Private Hire rank in central London, (a leased TfL bus stand in Whitcomb Street) was unprecedented.
Guarded at night by police officers, it spawned a massive drive-in, referred to in the press as the new Battle of Trafalgar.
Just after this, the news broke that TfL had let a wife killing, PHV driver on the knowledge. After two united trade mass protests, complete with the newly formed RMT taxi branch, he was slung off the knowledge and shortly afterwards Director of TfLTPH Ed Thompson, was removed from Taxis and Private Hire.
Fearing bigger and even more potent demos from the trade with the run up to the Olympics looming, TfL knew they had to come up with a plan to ensure they could push through all their controversial plans to deliver the Olympics on target.
The engagement policy was born mid 2010, a stroke of pure genius, invented by new boy John Mason.
Mason's idea was to lay down certain requirements which only the LDTA could match. But then felt the arrangement would look bad if only the one group signed the policy (could have caused even more uproar amongst the rank and file). So, Unite and LCDC were invited to sign up, even though neither one conformed to the policy requirements.
The RMT and the newly formed United Cabbies Group were barred from the policy as TfL felt they were the main antagonists. The decision to black ball these two groups, was also backed by all three members of the newly formed United Trade Group.
TfLTPH's idea was, the LCDC and Unite would be too hesitant to rock the boat, for fear of expulsion from this new elite new group.
The LTDA had the seat on the board of TfL dangled like a carrot in front of a donkey.
Just a thought: As Bob has always insisted he didn't represent the trade or his members directly on the board of TfL, should he be asked to pay back his salary for the time he spent away from his secretarial post at a Taxi House?
Anyway that was the plan, to divide and keep the trade quiet, which has worked well for six years
It's still working today!
We've recently been informed by TfL, the policy will continue under the new Mayor.
We've had the TfL Commissioner caught in an sordid affaire with a £140 an hour sex worker he came across while surfing a sex website, adultwork.com.
The UTG kept quiet.
We've had a minicab firm in West London receiving multiple PHV roundels in a brown envelope without having to present their vehicles. No prosecutions resulted.
The UTG said nothing.
We've had the forged Taxi driver licenses that turned up in a badge and Bill check in the city. Alleged to have originated from the move to Palestra, again
The UTG said nothing.
We've had Uber Licensed in contravention of the 1998 act conditions of fitness (no land line, no facility for pre-bookings, customer details kept on server in USA)
And again the UTG have said and done virtually nothing.
We've had the driver renewal scandal with Hendy stopping the issue of temporary licenses saying Taxi drivers couldn't be trusted...
The UTG did and are still doing nothing about this.
We now have the Ubergate emails.....do you see the pattern!
As for Richard Massett's joint ranks committee, the Mayfair mob have shown them up big time.
Without any trade org affiliation, they managed to get ranks implemented at Hakkasan, Novikov's, Sketch, Bread Street, extension at Forge and repaints of many other ranks seen fading away.
So, someone please tell me why two trade representative orgs and one Union are still having elitist, un-minuted secret squirrel meetings with TfL?
What do their members feel is being achieved by their representatives capitulation to TfL's demands?
While the engagement policy is in place we have no chance to win or change anything.
We need TfL to negotiate with the whole trade, not simply consult with the teacher's pets.
Every org has good ideas. The UTG ideas no matter how good, seldom seem to get past the LTDA, who seem to speak to TfL on behalf of the trade as a whole.
Those outside the UTG, if they act alone get called splitters and anyone from outside an org who comes up with an idea, is said to have ulterior motives.
The recent week long demonstrations from Dads Defending Daughters, produced positive results. Unbelievably, the LTDA have now jumped all over this and are claiming the sole kudos.
It's not Uber that's killing the trade, it's the engagement policy.
It should be the aim of every driver in our trade to get this engagement policy scrapped.
Regards Jonathan Wyett (retired)