Saturday, October 20, 2018

Working on a Taxi or Private Hire App – What does it mean?

Back in September 2017, I was suspended from the MyTaxi app in a 27-second phone call and then subsequently terminated from the App in April 2018 – I allege that this is an unfair deactivation for blowing the whistle, hence, why I’m bringing an employment tribunal claim.

I want to take the emotion out of the argument for a second and explore the facts in regard to what questions an employment tribunal could potentially raise;

1. If we look back at the Uber drivers employment tribunal, the private hire regulatory framework was discussed at length with Uber’s lawyers claiming that Uber is just the drivers “agent” and the driver is a self-employed contractor – this argument was rejected by the Judge on a number of factors, one being the “control” that Uber hold over their drivers and another being the regulatory framework i.e. the fact that Uber drivers are not independent workers because they cannot operate independently and are reliant on Uber accepting the App booking and sending them the job.

2. Uber & TfL both claim that Uber drivers are not “plying for trade” and the App job is a “pre-booking” therefore, was the only reasonable conclusion the employment Judge in the Uber employment tribunal could come to, was that; if Uber hold a significant workplace “control” over the driver i.e deactivations without reason and it’s Uber who are accepting the booking as a “pre-booking” in line with the private hire legislation, then, is it safe to conclude that the Uber driver is a Limb – (b) worker with certain employment rights?

3. What is certain with MyTaxi is that taxi drivers have been deactivated from the App without any real reason given, the question is; does this and other contractual requirements show that MyTaxi have as much “control” over the taxi driver as Uber have over their private hire drivers?

4. There is no secret that I’ve asked MyTaxi many times prior to my sacking; am I plying for hire on the App, or are MyTaxi accepting the App job as a “pre-booking”?

5. If MyTaxi is accepting the booking as a “pre-booking” and has a similar level of “control” over the taxi driver that Uber has over their drivers, then why wouldn’t taxi drivers also be classed as Limb – (b) workers with certain employment rights?

6. However, if MyTaxi argues that I am (as taxi driver) operating independently via the App and MyTaxi have no “control” over me - then can it be said that I must be “plying for trade” independently via the App?

7. Conversely, if Uber keep arguing at the employment tribunal that their drivers are operating independently as independent contractors, then can it said that Uber drivers must also be “plying for trade” independently via Uber App? 

8. So an interesting question arises, is the status of an independent worker in employment law linked to whether a driver is independently “plying for trade” or not?

9. This, in my opinion, is such a valuable discussion within the employment argument for our working practices via Apps in the future.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Uber’s next trick? Bouncers for hire.

First it was cheap taxi rides. Then it delivered takeaways from restaurants that were once the preserve of those dining in. 

Now Uber is shipping out short term staff for all your function needs, in other words Door Staff, Bouncers Waiters etc. 

The Silicon Valley startup-turned global enterprise is said to be working on Uber Works, which will offer up temporary staff such as security and event assistants for functions at the tap of a phone screen.

It is already building up a team in Chicago, according to the Financial Times. If true, it seems like a surprising pivot from its main business model.


The news will add further fuel to grumbling workers’ rights campaigners across Europe, who have tried vehemently to oust Uber for its poor track record on giving benefits to its couriers and drivers, who are not technically employees.

Uber has already waded into an ongoing row over drivers’ rights, with campaigners claiming they should be classes as employees. And it has only just smoothed over its hiccup in London, where its licence was revoked in 2017. 

Offering up temporary staff without rights could cause more of a headache across European cities.

It also seems particularly tone deaf for a company so hellbent on cleaning up its image, investing heavily in a rebranding in recent weeks. The zero hours contractor market is already viewed with some suspicion in the UK due to employees' lack of holidays or guarantee of consistent work.


Plus, the market is well trodden. Staffing and contractors companies including G4S (is that not linked with the PM’s husband?) have a strong hold, and clients might need more than a swishy app to convince them to part ways.

However, this leak could be a stroke of genius for the company, which is preening itself ahead of a stock market debut tipped for 2019. 

Questions remain over whether Uber can continue to grow in both new and established markets as competition ramps up.

The company declined to comment when approached by The Telegraph, but stay tuned. Under new boss Dara Khosrowshahi, the company has been working to clean up its act and transform its business model from startup to a responsible business investors can expect a return on. 

Source : Telegraph. 

Update On The Lisson Grove Gang Taxi Driver Mugging : News From The Met.

Back in September Taxi driver and prominent LCDC member Tony Casey, shared his fears that somebody "could be killed" as Taxi drivers were being targeted by a prolific mugging gang from Lisson Grove.

Tony, who has been driving a black cab in London since the 1980s, says the attacks which are becoming too commonplace have spread to other parts of central London and have become more worrying as violence is now being used towards drivers.

But Tony didn't just leave it there. 
He made an appointment to see PC Kelly who is attached to the staff office of Borough Commander of Havering. The officer put Tony in contact with the Met sergeant in charge of neighbourhood policing for the Maida Vale and Little Venice Areas (Sergeant Scott Barden Marshall), who explained to Tony, that his unit is keen to get this sorted.

Sergeant Marshall said to Tony he knows he needs to do a great job here and stressed that so far, is going better than he first anticipated. 

After the recent outcry on social media, we've now received news that the issue has now been taken on by the 'Robbery And Gangs Unit' who have been directed to look into these serious crimes against Taxi drivers.

In an interview with the unit, Tony insisted that its only a matter of time before these attacks include fare paying passengers, and now the issue has started to gathered pace. 

Gangs are targeting taxi drivers for their takings and their phones. This includes brazen attempts to stop the cabs in the street, and even trying to get drivers to help disabled people get into the Taxi, only to rob them when they step out of the cab. Tweets also say a driver was attacked with a fire extinguisher. One driver on the rank at Marylebone Station was threatened with acid.

Tony said: "For the last few years, licensed cab drivers have been robbed while driving through Lisson Grove and now it's expanding to the West End and Knightsbridge. It’s no joke. Somebody, either a taxi driver or one of the gang members, could be killed."

This extract below from the Ham and High, regarding the robberies:
Alex Workman has been driving a taxi for 11 years, and lives in Lisson Grove. He has seen the aftermath of many street robberies.
"I picked up a group in Praed Street," he said. "When they all piled in, they said: ‘Can you pick up my friend’s bag on the way?’"
When Alex’s cab pulled up, the youths picked up a bag from the street. He quickly realised they had a driver’s money bag.
"I told them to get out, and they dropped the bag on the way. When I checked, it was empty. A woman came up and said she’d seen a taxi driver being robbed."

The 37-year-old says some taxi drivers are no longer carrying cash bags to minimise the risk of being robbed. He told us he fears for his safety.
"Myself, and other drivers know who these people are. 
It would be an easy problem to tackle, but they would have to get a police presence in the area. I don’t have much confidence in the police full stop. I don’t blame individual officers, I put blame directly at the door of commissioner Cressida Dick.

"Like a lot of visible crime at the moment, you need visible officers. It’s not about taking DNA or doing stuff behind computer screens, it’s about getting boots on the ground."

Another TfL's Balls Up : This Time Regarding Charging Placements

Transport for London principal technical specialist and road safety auditor Faith Martin confirmed that TfL currently has no official guidance on how or where charging points should be placed, following several complaints about charging point placements in the capital. It's clear that TfL have no idea how to solve this problem!

According to the National Charge Point Registry, London has around 530 electric Vehicle charging points. However, it has emerged that TfL’s street planning guidance, Streetscape, has no official guidelines on how they should be installed with regards to street planning.

But then, when have TfL taken any notice of guidelines ?
They had the PHV act of 1998, centuries of legislation laid down by Parliament, and yet they still illegally licensed an app to ply for immediate hire!!!
They've created massive pollution causing congestion in a bid to get people to use the new tube line that is over budget and overdue. And have done their upmost best to destroy London's 360 year old Taxi industry. 

Martin added that TfL was conducting more research, with updated guidelines to be released within a year.
Taxi Leaks could have saved TfL millions in research and consultations, with the advice that segregated cycle lanes create congestion, pedestrianising major roads creates congestion, bad traffic light phasing creates congestion and congestion creates toxic pollution. 

Getting back to charging points:
The Department for Transport guidelines for inclusive mobility recommended a carriageway to have two metres of space for pedestrian traffic – the minimum amount needed for two wheelchairs to pass each other – an issue for London’s narrow streets, even without bulky charging points.

There have been several noteable examples of poorly placed charging points in London, including this one on Farringdon, which is still in place:

Alan Hayes, member of the Engineering Energy for the Future project group said that the split between some charging points being under TfL and others under Local Authorities was potentially confusing to users.

“Streetscape guidance for charging points in London is split between TfL and the boroughs,” he said. “This structure is in danger of propagating a patchwork approach to EV charging provision that could be inconvenient and confusing for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike.....Well I never???.... perhaps Mayor Sadiq Khan has made a massive mistake trying to introduce technology before it's ready or suitable for a city like London!!!

TFL's idea of encouraging a reduction in harmful emission from vehicles in London is to narrow streets, ban left turns, ban right turns, keep vehicles at junctions longer with a 7 second green light and cause major gridlock all over the capital. 

TfL says it has "tried to limit congestion caused by cars and encouraging healthier, more active forms of travel” but it's time to face the fact that it has failed miserably.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Latest Update On MyTaxi - Workers Rights Funding, Round 2.

Hiya All

Just a super quick update, as you probably know by now a preliminary hearing is pencilled in for the 8th Jan 2019 - your support has been fantastic since we started fundraising for our employment tribunal against MyTaxi for basic worker rights.

However, I need your help to hit the next target in our quest to finance the legal support.

Our overall target is still £18,000......however, we need to hit the stretched target of £10,000 by the end of October.

We have currently raised £8,300 so we need to raise another £1,700 in 15 days.

Can I please ask you to ask any freinds or family who may wish to make a small contribution - 

We have come so far with this campaign, let us hope we can continue with the momentum.

Again, I really do thank you for your kind support. 

Best wishes

Chris Johnson. 

Political Correctness Gone Made. CoL Richard Kemp Slams Order Banning Poppy On BTP cars.

This is British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable Sean O'Callaghan.
He has forbidden officers, many of whom are ex forces, from placing Poppy stickers on or in their cars, ahead of Remembrance Sunday....incase it upsets other charities!!!
We ask him to name these so called charities...
Is he alluding to the charities that sell white poppies?

The veto had “gone down a like a cup of cold sick”, according to some bobbies, many of whom served in the British Armed Forces.

British Transport Police officers are fuming at poppy ban.
Col Richard Kemp, a former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, said “This ban has the stench of political correctness all over it.”

This comes in the wake of another cowardly act by a high ranking Police officer who locked himself in his car as a colleague was stabbed to death in front of him.

This year’s November 11 memorials mark the 100th anniversary since the end of the First World War.

But Assistant Chief Constable O’Callaghan told his force it “would not be doing the right thing” to support one charity.

One unnamed officer said: “In the year we mark 100 years since the end of the Great War, people seem to be forgetting what those blokes died for.”

Many police officers affected by the BTP poppy vehicle ban are ex-Armed Forces members.
This ban has the stench of political correctness all over it
Col Richard Kemp, former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan
A BTP spokesman said it was worried the stickers were not official merchandise.

The spokesman said: “It is important to stress that British Transport Police supports the Royal British Legions Poppy Appeal.

“Each year, officers up and down the nation attend Remembrance Sunday events, in memory of those who died.

"However, we were concerned that stickers placed on some of our cars were not official Poppy Appeal merchandise.

“Because of concerns regarding where the money for these stickers was ending up, we took the decision to not place these Poppy stickers on BTP vehicles.

"We fully recognise the sacrifices made by all armed forces colleagues, therefore we will always permit officers and staff to wear the traditional Royal British Legion poppy on their uniform."

The force are forbidden from carrying the iconic red poppy emblem on their cars.
Outraged Britons took to social media to vent their fury at the poppy ban.

Ian Blackshire posted: “What is this country coming to? Utterly disgraceful.”

Andrew Jones wrote: “They wouldn’t ban me. Absolutely disgusting. Whoever came up with this idea should be sacked.”

It comes as Cambridge University students sparked anger after turning their back on next month’s Remembrance Day.

Cambridge University’s Student Union had been asked to do more to promote Remembrance Day, but claimed poppies “glorify” war.

A motion put forward by two members of the university Conservative Association (CUCA) to ensure “Remembrance Day becomes a well-established and well-marked event” was rejected.