Saturday, November 10, 2018

Chris Johnson’s Update On His Crowdjustice Fundraising Case.

We read Chris still needs £5400 in 20 days 

If the 300 odd who have donated, put in again it would need about £16 each.

I’m sure we can get it over the line. I will definitely be putting in again, but it’s going to need a big push from everyone again.

I will definitely be doing that!

Latest update on MyTaxi - Worker Rights.

Without Prejudice.

Dear All

Just an update.

After an amazing start to our campaign to raise £18,000 we have somewhat slowed down - we need to hit the £15,000 target by the end on November and £18,000 by the end of December.

Therefore, to hit these milestones by these dates we have just over £5,400 to raise within the next 20 days - can I ask that you please help to share the crowd justice link as widely as possible?

I'm aware of some friction on social media and would like to share some thoughts on what an employment tribunal could achieve:

Here are my thoughts on why an employment tribunal is the right thing to do and what we could expect to gain - I hope you will think about supporting.

Uber VAT liability because they are the principal?

The European court recently decided that Uber are a transportation provider instead of a software company, the UK employment tribunal service decided that Uber drivers are limb-b workers instead of self- employed contractors because Uber "control" the driver, thus making Uber London Limited the "principal" in the contract. Jolyon Maugham argues that because Uber London is the "principal" then they must be subject to VAT liability on the whole fare – I think we all agree on this point - when I was a member of the LCDC we financially supported Jolyon.

Therefore, does "control" of the driver amount to VAT liability because of the fact, who is doing the "controlling" is the "principal"?

Could MyTaxi avoid VAT liability if they don’t "control" the driver?

We identified some time ago that if MyTaxi "control" the fares (fixed prices), suspend the driver for scrubbing jobs and deactivate drivers without reason etc. then there is a strong argument that they "control" the driver much in the same way as Uber "control" their drivers – should an employment tribunal agree that MyTaxi drivers are limb-b workers much in the same way Uber drivers are limb-b workers, then clearly MyTaxi would potentially be the "principal" in the contract, thus it’d be MyTaxi who are making the VATable supply, therefore, they would potentially be liable for VAT on the whole fare - just as Jolyon Maugham is claiming Uber London are.  

If MyTaxi amended their driver T&C’s to reflect that we are independent drivers who "ply for hire" independently, didn’t do fixed prices and didn’t suspend or deactivate drivers without reason, and if any passenger complaint was dealt with by the regulator (TfL) instead of MyTaxi, then it’d be almost certain that MyTaxi was only our "agent" and not the "principal" therefore, not exposed to the claim that they "control" the driver in any way, furthermore, if they didn’t control the driver then there could be no way it could be argued that they were the "principal" and subsequently would not be exposed to any VAT liability claims. 

 Why is all of this is important for the future of the taxi trade?

In reality, both Uber & MyTaxi work in the same way, the only difference being the price the passenger pays – the only way that the taxi trade improves our position is by clarifying the employment status and VAT status on both taxi and private hire apps, we do this the following way;

(1) If Uber "control" their drivers then they must be the "principal" in the contract, therefore, it’s Uber London who is providing the VATable transport services – so, Jolyon Maugham must be right, Uber must pay 20% VAT on all of their fares.

(2) If MyTaxi don’t have any "control" over the drivers contractually or otherwise and the regulator deals with any passenger complaints, suspensions or revocations for bad behaviour and not MyTaxi, then it must be said that MyTaxi do not "control" the driver and therefore are not liable to employment claims or exposure to VAT liability as they are truly operating as a "non-controlling" "agent" for the driver – that said, this currently isn’t the case, because MyTaxi are contractually very controlling and they do suspend and deactivate drivers without reason and this will only get worse if not challenged.

What is the answer?

I believe that it’s very clear, private hire apps have to "control" their drivers because of the nature of the legislation, therefore, private hire companies are the "principal" in any contract so must be subject to VAT on the full fare.

If MyTaxi and all Taxi App companies want to "control" the driver, then they must equally be the "principal" in any contract and subject to the same employment & VAT liability as private hire companies like Uber - that said, if MyTaxi have no arbitrary "control" of drivers then they would avoid any employment or VAT liability.

MyTaxi is not going to give up this "control" freely, therefore, we MUST force them into a position whereby the only option for them is; (a) If they want to "control" drivers then that comes with employment & potentially VAT liability, or; (b) they release ALL "control" of the driver contractually or otherwise, and accept that they are a "non-controlling" agent for the driver – the only way we force this position is to support and employment tribunal case against them.

Moreover and even more important, if a passenger complains about a driver, then any decision to reduce a drivers ability to source work must be a licensing decision by the regulator and not a decision by an unregulated app company – should TfL decide to suspend or revoke a drivers licence and the ability to earn a living is reduced in any way then the driver has the magistrates court to appeal any restriction of work because of a suspension or revocation – this can be the only way that drivers are protected from arbitrary decisions from unregulated app companies going forward.

I hope this is clear.

Thank you for your continued support.


Friday, November 09, 2018

Chelsea Pensioners Collection Bucket Stolen In Break In.

The Chelsea Pensioners were devastated to hear that last night, corporate partners John D Wood & Co. had their Lower Sloane Street branch broken into and the contents of the collection bucket were stolen.

The charity collection from staff and clients was in support of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the Chelsea Pensioners. It is thought that in excess of seven hundred pounds was taken. 

Russell Williamson from John D Wood & Co. in Sloane Square said: “We are extremely saddened that the money we raised for the Royal Hospital, Chelsea will now not be of benefit to this worthy cause. It is particularly poignant at this time of year, during our national period of Remembrance, when the Chelsea Pensioners have been out in force supporting both local and national remembrance events and appeals.” 

John Wood & Co. have been working hard to raise funds for the Chelsea Pensioners and had received many additional donations during the national period of Remembrance. The company’s fundraising efforts have been instrumental to ensure that the Pensioners are able to carry out their current ceremonial duties and safeguard the Royal Hospital for the care of future veterans.

The Royal Hospital was the final home for many soldiers who bravely fought in World War One and on breaking this news to the Pensioners they expressed their disappointment. Chelsea Pensioner Gordon Sanders said: “I think it’s disgusting that their office was broken into and that money has been taken from the charity. The Pensioner community feels let down and I am sure all of those who gave so generously will be disappointed that the monies raised are now lost.”

TfL And Westminster Relent, After Threat Of Bridge Protests From ITA and LCDC.

Good news..... After threats of a driver lead demos from the ITA, openly supported by the LCDC, TfL have now relented and reconsidered the issue with Westminster Bridge over the next 4 weeks. 

Taxi will now be allowed to use the bridge as well as buses and cycles. Not only that, Taxis will also be able to turn left on ton Westminster Bridge from the Victoria Embankment.

To all those mushrooms out there, who have been fed lies, fake news and kept in the dark, this is proof that not only do demos work, sometimes, just the threat of a driver lead action, is enough to win the day. 

It's sad that because of the apathy from 95% of the trade and lack of support from the majority of trade orgs/Unions, the ITA have decided to call off next weeks proposed demos. 
We can only hope they will have a change of heart... having seen today's victory. 

TfL must be kicking themselves, they only had to keep blanking us for one more day and they could have gone ahead with this travesty against the 'Best Taxi Service In The World'.

CabbiesDoKilamanjaro Go Topless At The Charity Cab Wash, Along With GoWashMyCar

The CabbiesDoKilamanjaro along with GoWashMyCar, are today at the Iron Lung for a charity car wash event in aid of the Cabbies Charity For Military Veterans. 

The session started at 10am with Paul and Rosh, carrying on their training for the expedition to Kilamanjaro. The cabbies were joined by friend of the Taxi Trade Francis and Jo from Plan insurance who actually got stuck in with their chammies, washing London Taxi Radio's John Cox's cab. 

Highlight of the morning was when lady Cabbie Jane paid double the suggested rate to have her Cab washed by two topples cabbies. 

Let's hope the charity can wash goes well today and raises lots of much needed funds for this wonderful Cabbies Charity. You can even have a quick cuppa from another great supporter of the trade Tony at the Astral cafe' opposite, while having your cab washed. 

See the videos below recorded live by London Taxi Radio earlier this morning.

Part two


Breaking News : Statement From The Independent Taxi Alliance (ITA)... Demos Cancelled.

After calling the action planned for next week, we've been monitoring the response, especially from the orgs and unions.

Except for the @The_LCDC, who have come out in full support,

 the other orgs and Unions' response has been collectively piss poor.

There is always many people to cajole and please....
* to keep hold of the two tier system, 
* to demand protection for against armed robbery from the @metpoliceuk, 
* to demand access to areas TfL buses may enter, 
* to be part of the transport system, 
* not relegated to AddLee and Uber status.

A good percentage of the ITA are mid fifties and sixties - we can sit back and see this game out. 
But we are fighting for the future Taxi driver.

Yet 95% if rank and file drivers, don't want to do anything.

And as for org and union unity? Don't make us laugh.
This trade has never been more divided.

It's the same old story - we call a protest and 
* it's not the right place, 
* or it's not long enough, 
* or too long, 
* or the wrong time, 
* or "demos don't work" that's our favourite, "demos don't work"
* of course they won't if you work through them! It's not rocket science.

If 5k drivers protested everyday, changes would happen.

TfL, Camden, Hackney, Islington, the City of London could not suffer the costs and disruption

But, why is it always the same 500 or so proactive faces going out of their way, giving up their time?
For what?
For mushrooms too busy to take their snouts out of their moneybags to see what's happening?

Well, no more.

No more can we ask those loyal men and women to go without, so the "excuse me Johnnies" can hoover up, rubbing their hands together with miserly joy.


Let them get on with it, is now the majority consensus amongst the Proactive ITA members.

Let them call their own drive-ins in Lisson Grove, and moan as street after street, road after road, turning after turning is taken away from them, without so much as a whimper

Let them ask their orgs and unions to fight for Bank Junction, and hold Mike Brown to account for his anti Taxi policy, and question the bus driver's son as to why he is so pro bus and tube, and so destructive and deceitful towards Taxi drivers.

Let their orgs and unions take on the councils the next time Taxis are prohibited from using a certain street or right turn where buses can go, and you're thinking why am I paying twice what my vehicle is actually worth, with my fares dictated and my entry exam so stringent, and being pushed gradually into the same tier as a PH driver.

Drivers ask, why am I being treated like this by TfL and anti-Taxi councils?

The answer is...because you're weak.

They know they can get away with anything with Taxi drivers - because they won't fight back! Not 95% of them anyway.

So the ITA say to the 95%, "Get on with it."








An early Christmas present from TfL to the taxi trade..

No good moaning now had your chance to protest and you blew it. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Judge's Impartiality Questioned During Licence Appeal As Judicial Review Is Given Go-Ahead


UBER’S future in London is again in doubt after black cab drivers were granted a judicial review of the decision to award a new licence to the controversial taxi firm.

A High Court judge has allowed the cabbies to take action against Westminster magistrates’ court and the alleged “bias” of Emma Arbuthnot, the senior district judge and chief magistrate of England who decided the Uber case.

Granting the application, Mr Justice Walker also said Uber had “gravely misled the regulator and the court”.

In August, six weeks after Arbuthnot ruled in favour of Uber, it was revealed that her husband James, a former Tory MP, works for a strategy firm which advised one of Uber’s main investors.

She said she had been unaware of the connection but withdrew from a future Uber case she was due to hear about Brighton’s refusal to renew the company’s licence.

A judicial spokesman said: “It is essential that judges not only are, but are seen to be, absolutely impartial.”

Submissions by Robert Griffiths QC, acting for the United Cabbies Group, said Arbuthnot had failed to explain why, if she was not qualified to hear the Brighton case, she had been qualified to hear the London one.

In his ruling, Walker said the cab drivers’ arguments “merit consideration at a hearing. Uber had gravely misled the regulator and the court. The failure to make an express finding that it had indeed turned into an entity that was ‘fit and proper’ may, at least arguably, reflect an impermissible approach.”

Transport for London, the regulator, refused to renew Uber’s licence in September last year, saying its behaviour fell below the legal test of being “fit and proper”. Uber appealed. In her decision, Arbuthnot said TfL had been right to refuse a licence at the time, since Uber had deceived both it and the High Court in a previous action.

However, she said Uber had since improved and gave it a temporary, 15-month licence to allow it to prove that it deserved a longer licence. Calling her reasoning “unlawful” and “illogical”, Griffiths said Arbuthnot was not allowed to reprieve Uber “in anticipation of it becoming fit and proper” but was obliged to decide whether it was actually fit and proper at the time of the case.

Uber, which can operate while the case proceeds, declined to comment.

Source Times.