Back in September 2014, Taxi Leaks posted an article
(Click Here) explaining, in the 4 years since the deregulation of the Taxi trade in Dublin, 50 Taxi drivers had committed suicide.
Here in London, Taxi Leaks' Semtex was regularly stating "Men Are Coming To Kill Us". We all firmly believed this and it seems he/we were right.
But we never thought we'd see London Taxi drivers taking their own lives in numbers similar to that of their Dublin colleagues.
Unfortunately, the nightmare is fast becoming a reality.
We've been told by a driver in a FaceBook Taxi driver's group, that an ex-cabby, now a paramedic has attended 5 attempted suicides recently, all of whom are believed to be London Taxi Drivers.
Below is another strong, brilliant post from Harry Wall.
I can't believe what I've been reading.
Cab drivers reaching such depths of despair they attempt suicide?
All because of TFL?
Of course it is.
This news is a game changer for me, the absolute last straw. We can no longer sit and wait to see what happens.
We can't worry about other people's opinion of us anymore.
Nor can we wait for one of these poor sods to be successful, it's up to us to put this right, NOW!!
If ever there was a time for solidarity, it's NOW!!
TFL, Johnson, Hendy, Daniels, Emerson, Chapman, Shawcross, Brown ("it's nothing to do with me") and now Sadiq Khan are all equally responsible for this unbelievable situation, I still can't believe this is happening.
This is the cost of all orgs trying to work towards their own goals and not being astute enough to recognise the obvious fact that this war can only be won by forming a coalition, working out a strategy and going on the attack with the most absolute conviction possible. No more lies, no more "stuff going on behind the scenes bullshit", or my favorite one, see what the committee says and then we'll see.
Action is needed now!
Never in 23 years driving a cab have I ever seen such a dreadful state in this trade. And whether we want to admit it or not, we are to blame. We're to blame for breeding a culture of apathy, greed and cowardice. Apathy is obvious, greed with those drivers who work during demos and cowardice for choosing not to fight for what we've earned the right to have, a living. We've allowed thieves to take what's ours, rich corporates to muscle in on our industry and our own regulators to be bribed into facilitating our downfall, and if we're not really careful we'll have allowed our own to take their own lives as a result.
Do you really think cowardice is too strong a word?
I feel thoroughly ashamed of our trade.
I was once told it was a noble trade and to be proud of it.
This recent news has rocked me to the core.
I was a cab driver for a year and a half when my wife and I received the devastating news that my son needed a liver transplant. Fortunately, six months later we got the call and told a liver had become available. Nine hours later my boy was on the table receiving the gift of life and thank God that day came as we would have lost him otherwise. Twenty years later he's fit and healthy, working and competes for his country at the World Transplant Games.
I'm telling you this because it wasn't until two years post transplant that I managed to return to some semblance of real and proper working pattern, prior to that I was always having to take time off for various reasons, either for my son, my wife or me.
The strain during that 4/5 years was at times unbearable and I'll admit to shedding the odd tear now and again under the weight of debt, you're forever trying to find the balance between being a dad, a husband and the bread winner, but at no time did I ever consider suicide.
Whatever these men are feeling it's obviously ten times the strain I felt and we must arrest this situation and deal with it immediately.
Face it, TFL will do nothing, Sadiq Khan will do nothing, nor will Shawcross or anyone else, its up to us.
We as a trade need to recognise this as rock bottom and take control of what happens next instead waiting for the inevitable nothing to happen. Sooner or later men or women will take there own life.
When TFL get wind of this and the trade orgs better make sure they do, they'll no doubt offer "counseling to those who need it", NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!
They are responsible for it and please don't ever forget that.
Remember we didn't lose a tender for the work, the establishment went the corporate route and sold our right to our livelihood thinking they could. But if we're not careful, sooner or later that decision may cost the life of a cab driver because of a desperation so unbelievable and overwhelming it seems the only valid way out.
I know I'm constantly banging on about demos but surely this latest dreadful, frightening revelation must breathe new life into every one of us, especially trade leaders, to finally go for the jugular. No more settling for being fobbed off with false promises, we must mount an onslaught on TFL like they've never imagined, ruthless, relentless and without any regret whatsoever because mark my words, the first successful suicide that occurs will be on us because we did nothing or not enough to stop it.
That all may sound a bit dramatic but can you even begin to imagine the drama and trauma going on in those poor sods heads?
I've got some idea but mine probably pales into insignificance by comparison.
WE MUST TAKE OUR TRADE BACK!
Quite literally lives are at stake.
The orgs bare some responsibility for this because we've all put our trust in them and they've failed. For years they've gone there own way, winning their own little victories they see as validation for their existence. This revelation proves otherwise. No more little victories can be tolerated and I call on every trade leader to get around the table and form a coalition now. They don't have to like it but they're all duty bound to do as they're told by the drivers they represent, so please tell them asap to do the job we entrusted them to do before it really is too late.
Editorial Comment :
The next few weeks for some people, are the best most fantastic time of the year, surrounded by family and friends, with much to look forward to.
But for others, this period is a complete nightmare.
This is the time of year we really should be keeping a closer eye on the more vulnerable loved-ones amongst us.