Tuesday, November 25, 2014

London's Finest Fought Back Last Night...And Won. ... By Jim Thomas.

As yesterday afternoon drew to a close, the trade was shocked to hear the news that the meeting regarding the rank at Winter Wonderland (WW) took place without reps from the UTG, who were excluded from attending.
Member of both the RMT and the UCG Will know exactly how that feels.

But nothing had been said to the waiting trade, who were under the impression that the org or union they pay their hard earned money to in the form of subscriptions, were at this meeting fighting for their right to ply for hire at the main exit of WW on South Carriage Drive (SCD) and not nearly a mile away in an almost deserted, badly illuminated part of North Carriage Drive(NCD).

Around 5:30pm, we were informed the trade orgs were not included in the meeting. 

Shortly after 6pm this email from TfL was made public on social media:
Email from Tfl re WINTER WONDERLAND.

Unfortunately the Royal Parks Authority would not agree to amending their current taxi rank location, regardless of the various benefits to having the rank at SCD for passengers, mobility impaired passengers and the trade.

I understand that this is not what you and your members wanted to hear, which is why I have instructed Nicole to set up a sight meeting between the Parks Authority and the Cab Ranks Committee at their earliest convenience to look to expedite the current situation. Nicole has just emailed them, so as soon as this is arranged she will be in touch with further details. ENDS.

Around 8pm messages went out on the Flash Demo twitter feed that drivers should attend en masse at the SCD entrance to WW at 9pm.

By 9.15 hundreds of Taxis had answered the call and had formed a massive rolling rank just back from the gates. The Public were coming out and using Taxis.

WW and the Royal Parks had spitefully coned off the space by the entrance, obviously for their preference of PH cars 

But the space remained empty as cars were put off forming an illegal rank by the presence of so many militant Taxis.

By 9.30pm the old bill had arrived and tried to move on the taxis. After just a few minutes of discussion with a few of the drivers, their attitude changed. 

We were told that they would be making a report, advising the old rank be reinstated as it seemed to be the preferred choice of the public, leaving the event. 

Around 9:50, the police left the Taxis to it and departed.

To be honest, Taxi drivers should not have to be doing this. This should have been sorted out months ago.
It's a complete disgrace that our so called representatives, the ones who have the ear of TfL, the ones who are party to an engagement policy that excludes others, left this so long. 

It's no good saying, "Oh, we didn't know. No one told us". Your members pay you to be in the know.

Funny how you get meetings with London Assembly members at City Hall, attend meetings with the Mayor, splashed all over your publications yet can't arrange a ranks meeting with TfL.

TfL normally put out a ranks update leading the run up to Christmas. Did no one in the Joint Ranks Committee think it strange that this year, there was just silence. 

TfL failed to answer emails on the subject and it seems we will soon have a similar problem at Victoria Park, where no rank facilities are in place for the fourth coming WinterVille event. 

At the time of writing this post, we have been informed that a site meeting is to take place between TfL, Ranks Committee and Royal Parks on Wednesday 26 November

Taxi Leaks will keep you informed of any progress on this issue, meanwhile please follow these twitter feeds for up to date info:
@Flash_Demo and  

Well done to all drivers who took part in last nights Flash Demo, I was very proud to be there and to see this fightback from rank and file drivers, showing the UTG what true Unity really looks like. No one was excluded from Flash Demo and no one ever will be.

If we still have no word by Wednesday tonight, I believe we could see an even than just a Flash Mob. 

Remember what Bob Crow used to say:
If you fight, I can't guarantee you will win.
But if you don't fight, I guarantee you will lose.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Jim,I was at home by 8.30 last night,and I am off tonight....but I would have been there,and I will be there Wednesday onwards if needs be.Well done to all involved.Unbelievable how the best Taxi service in the world,bar none,have to fight every day just for the right to do our job.

Anonymous said...

9pm tonight be there if you care.

Anonymous said...

Trade Reps were not excluded on Monday, it was TfL who held a meeting amongst themselves. TfL did not know the Rank would be moved until WW opened. There is a JRC meeting with TfL tomorrow who support the Trade's request for the Rank being where it has always been.

Harry Feigan

Anonymous said...

It just goes to show the contempt that Senior TfL officials and the so called politicians have for taxi drivers.

As for the trade organisations, it must be time for the London taxis drivers to take control over their industry and its future because recent history shows no one else will.

Anonymous said...

No doubt there will be a PR opportunity for the 'usual suspects' when a compromise is cooked up.

When we all know that it's their 'sleeping on watch' that's the root cause of an enormous amount of our troubles, Olympics, Satellite Offices, Rides 2, PH ranks at the O2 and so on.

Hardly a list of battle honours is it?

They keep telling us 'things are happening behind the scenes' AKA F**K All!

Anonymous said...

I meet Harry Feigan once, many years ago. I was outside Grisvenor House picking up an account ride on com cab account. Feigan approach my Taxi and said who you here for, I daid Maria.
He said not now your picking me up.
I daid no I'm picking up Maria.
He said don't you know who I sm.
I said yes I know who you are and I'm still picking up Maria.
He then said he was going to report me and get me slung off the circuit and walked away.

Nice bloke Harry.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:30, you still on Con Cab?

Anonymous said...

No, I left and joined Dial a cab

Blast from the past said...

Harry Feigen, surely not!

How would he know what's going on?

To expect us to believe TfL did not know what was happening is scarcely credible and if true demonstrates the desperate situation we have now in the trade as the licensing authority staggers from one fiasco to another.

Tony Casey said...

The Parks Police is no more.
It was taken over by the Met.
years ago.. Who is it that has put the block on this rank being in place in the usual spot...
Sounds like a sacking offence to me..
An ex copper with shares in a PH firm ? A high ranking TFL staff member with his nose in the troth?
We will find out..

Anonymous said...

Who ya going call Not Sun Cab