Don't Be Disheartened ... The Fight Is Most Definitely NOT Over. By
Iain Wright MP Jo Maugham QC
What a week that was!
But not half as bad as Uber. Sexual harassment, cocaine use amongst employees, major investors losing confidence, Travis going a bit meltdown, tech media turning slightly, a "Delete Uber" campaign launched resulting in the loss of 200k customers and a company owned by Google is suing Uber for "Calculated theft" of it self-driving tech. Technology was apparently stolen from the company, called Alphabet to be used in Uber's own development of autonomous cars. Considering Google has invested hugely in Uber, this isn't good for little Travis and Co.
Uber are also in the doghouse in Whitehall, it seems they are no longer fashionable amongst our right dishonorable friends. Labour MP Iain Wright has called for a boycott of Uber use in the wake of the court ruling in favour of its drivers receiving employment rights and I think he feels it's unethical to be associated with voters being exploited or shat upon in this way.
Apparently, the number of drivers signing up to jump on the band wagon is growing daily. However, being the cynical bastard I am, I'd say it's more a case of some dickhead of a labour whip dropped a changer on Twitter whilst moaning about the absence of his Uber "taxi", the fact he's account had been hacked and he was unable to contact Uber to discuss the matter, in short a spot of damage control me thinks.
Then there's that nice man Jo Maugham, QC and founder of The Good Law Project who's launching a separate legal challenge against Uber over tax avoidance to the tune of £20m for non payment of VAT.
Never mind about 25k livelihoods being wrecked to the point some poor souls contemplate suicide.
Never mind the house repossessions, the marriages left in tatters due to the extreme strain brought on by Uber's hostile takeover backed by government. So long as £20m up for grabs let's get them into court.
Remember that rainy day, "IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY"!.
When I think of how we've let this situation escalate it shames me. Every week, damning evidence materialises against TFL and Mayoral bullshit is pumped out and we suck it up and wait for a miracle legal challenge that will hopefully launch us back to days of old. Every week that goes by is a week lost to apathy. We don't have to wait for anything, we choose to because we're told we should. I know the ITAs suspension of this weeks demos is disappointing to say the least, when I was told I thought it was a joke.
I've been told the reasoning behind it and, as annoying as it is, it makes sense.
Caveats have been placed on the suspension however , so watch this space.
I'm also assured that seeing as London is a rather large city, normal service will soon resume, I trust their judgment and I'm confident they won't let us down.
Please don't be disheartened, the fight is most definitely NOT over.
Talking of fight, I'd like to raise the subject of Tuesday's national day of action that's been organized by the Yorkshire PH/Licensed Taxi Drivers Ass. but including drivers from up and down the country in a joint effort to force change on TFL and local authorities attitudes towards cross border hiring. Throughout the country Uber drivers are leaving there licensed areas and raping and pillaging work from neighboring areas if not counties.
It appears quite a number of drivers licensed by TFL are traveling to areas such as Liverpool and Leeds to poach work they have no right to, not that have any moral right to work anyway. Drivers from Liverpool, Leeds, Cardiff, Sheffield, Derby and Brighton have all had their lives turned upside down like us and have simply had enough.
Last week I advocated joining in with this action but unfortunately the orgs haven't shown much interest other than to say it's an individuals choice.
Also quite a number of drivers have dismissed the idea out of hand stating they won't stand demonstrating with private hire, only black cab drivers.
I find this a really strange attitude given the fact 70-80% of black cab drivers are quite happy to drive past a demo with work in and not give a toss about you or me giving up our time to try and save their jobs. When asked why I would be happy to stand with a PH driver, I'm ashamed to say it's because nearly 20+thousand of my own can't be f***ed about to stand shoulder to shoulder with me instead!!
Whether they're PH or Hackney Carriage they're suffering from the same disease we are, we need to go national with this and inspite of efforts made by individuals within our trade it hasn't happened. This could be the beginning of the national movement we've all been crying out for and we let pride get in the way?
You think we've got any pride after 5 years of impotence?
5 wasted years trying to reason with corporate filth incapable of any, instead of driving London to a standstill on a regular basis until they took us seriously.
We can't do this on our own, we need the rest of the country and theirs no getting away from it. Uber's woes may well continue and let's hope it implodes, but don't bank on it and even if it does, TFL will still be a threat that needs dealing with and I refer to the self governance idea I've mentioned in the recent past, it must be explored.
Recently in Liverpool, a TFL licensed Uber driver was caught poaching and subsequently boxed in, spoken to and escorted back to the motorway London bound.
That's how you deal with rats, you get rid of them.
That's the attitude we need to adopt down here instead of, what seems to be, acceptance of the inevitable. What is inevitable is sooner or later the straw will break the camels back and good people will fall foul of the law in the pursuit of their living, yet for the sake of swallowing some pride it might be avoided.
We all know Khan won't help us, we all know he's as equally full of shite as Boris.
An accomplished liar as adept to handling difficult questions as he is getting selfies.
An example of which was recently heard in City Hall when asked by UKIPs David Kurten about his "One strike and they're out" comment to the Guardian regarding Uber and their license. He said he was referring to the licensees, not the operator.
He also said Uber complied with all requirements for an operators license.
How much more of this do we have to stand for?
This is a man earmarked as a future Labour leader and, to him being Mayor is merely a stepping stone to political stardom in his eyes. He has no interest in us whatsoever. Watch his demeanor in City Hall, he knows he's untouchable, he can do whatever he wants within reason and that includes carrying on with the planned destruction and deregulation of our trade.
The definition of deregulation is the removal or reduction of government regulation, legislation and removal of barriers to competition.
In short, a free for all and he wants it like the rest of them.
A national fight back however, that's a different kettle of fish that none of them are bargaining for.
Please give Tuesday some serious thought, pride won't pay for Christmas.