I start this post with the fantastic news that the ITA have reinstated daily direct action beginning March 1st. This is as a result of a failed meeting with COL yesterday. Please note ITA reps didn't fail, COL did, they failed to listen to reason, facts or common sense due to obvious intervention from TFL. So now we have to do it the hard way which I have to say was inevitable but nevertheless at least we tried the right way (again) without success, so now it's game on and I can't wait. I wish it was starting today.
I must say the absence of the main orgs from yesterday's meeting was disappointing, for whatever reasons, I think they all should've been there but in all fairness I don't think it would have changed the outcome, but looks matter to me.
What's been made glaringly obvious from this encounter is that TFL, the City and all those in authority have no intention whatsoever of giving an inch. Even with the WCHCD's involvement in the matter, who in my view have been too silent for too long, no movement towards compromise was at any time forthcoming so in my mind the deals had long since been done, probably over dinner at one of London's lodges.
So it's game on!!
Turning to COs, a recent video clip has highlighted just how ignorant, useless and utterly shambolic these individuals are. Rickshaws were on the pavement outside Selfridges, as usual, touting for business in front of 2 COs who were doing absolutely nothing to stop them.
When challenged by @Seandrivingabaght the answer was "We're not trained in that". Unbelievable.
I've made my feelings known that the orgs should set up our own compliance teams to roam London and police the streets ourselves. Teams of volunteer drivers drawn up from a rota on a weekly basis driving round the streets keeping ranks clear of rickshaws, rats and whoever else takes the piss. They could also watch TFL COs and make sure they're behaving themselves and doing their jobs properly. We can't rely on these people anymore, we can't keep hoping something will eventually happen, we have to make it happen now.
We're now in the mindset where we're taking matters into our own hands and bypassing the orgs that are there specifically to represent us and safeguard our future, but it's happening because we all know they're largely impotent.
Governed by red tape, restricted by laws implemented for the purpose of suffocating us. This has been the case for too long, which is why we now have ITA, DDD and so on. It's got to the point where I've lost all faith in all the orgs so I say thank God someone took the initiative and went for it.
All praise to them.
This is also born out by the fact a march by drivers families is in the early stages of being organised by Paul Sweeney and Save Taxis. A great idea but at the same time how embarrassing is it that we, as grown men and women, can't galvanise ourselves into a fighting force that the need for a family's march is needed?
It sickens me to think we've reached this point after 5 years of tyranny, having been treated in the most disgusting way possible by TFL for all this time, ignored constantly, shat on daily, laughed at regularly etc,etc, and still we let it happen. There's still a large section of our trade who are willing to let others fight while they work, happy to let others make a stand against injustice and the corruption that's nearly brought the trade to its knees. It both shocks and disgusts me but it's a burden that we must bare in the pursuit of victory in the face of insurmountable odds.
Now we've drawn the battle lines we can't back down now.
To add fuel to the fire, a meeting was held recently at TFL with all the orgs present. The subject of medicals was on the agenda and their latest plan is to no longer accept a medical certificate from your own GP. They plan to make it all in house so you have to use a TFL approved practice, the contract for which will obviously be put out to tender, no doubt doubling the price and providing a nice little kickback for TFL.
Trevor Merrills told Mike Brown the UCG would not accept their plan and that under no circumstances would he hand over his medical records, at which point Mike Brown said he wouldn't re-license him.
THIS IS WHAT WE ARE UP AGAINST!!
Once they get their grubby hands on our med records our numbers will fall like a stone. Not because we're all too ill to drive but because they'll use them to make it look like we are.
You know it as well as I do.
Face it, no amount of meetings, discussions or anything else is going to help us keep our jobs. With TFL licensed Uber's working all over the country now this virus has reached epidemic proportions that can no longer be tolerated. The surrounding areas of Heathrow have been blighted for over a year, Gatwick has now been made victim with the local country lanes laden with the filth and Southend has recently been in the news citing two previously imprisoned drivers somehow obtaining a license from TFL and working in the Southend area.
The LTDA are not going to save us with Mac being more interested in reviewing papers on Sky rather than turning up at demos and branch meetings, not to mention the dreadful feeling amongst its members, the Club have little resources by their own admission and the UCG are bound by section 12/14 and various other laws. That being said they're all pursuing legal routes which, as we all know, take time.
Precious time we haven't got.
So it's down to us as drivers to lead the way and the fight for survival, we must be resolute in our cause and completely unforgiving. When asked for a meeting we accept without canceling or postponing any existing action, no giving time, no favours, no surrender, no backing down, no give and take, GIVE THESE RATS NOTHING!!
This must be the most relentless effort with utmost conviction without stopping as from March 1st.
Behave like TFL and listen to no one, give nothing yet take as much as possible without any mercy or remorse. At the same time be mindful of why WE are doing it ourselves, why it's necessary and who's responsible and never forget.
Those in TFL will sort themselves out just like Mason when they realise the ship is hold. You won't be surprised to know he's senior management at a debt recovery company, so he's a senior bully now as opposed to a minor one, but still vile.
Uphill battles can be won and we can prove it, this our chance to prove it, our chance to shine again, so can we show the world we're the gold standard we're supposed to be please and fight tooth and nail beginning March 1st.
Don't rely on the orgs it's up to us, the drivers.
Please, please get behind any driver led movement from now on as I honestly believe we really can make a difference where our reps fear to tread.
Be lucky, Harry Wall.