Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Statement To the Trade Re National Make A Stand Day 25th September 2017... by Harry Wall

Last December I was interviewed on London Taxi Radio where I protested about the lacklustre fight all three orgs were putting up against TFL and Uber. 

I said I thought Steve Mac was TFL's bitch and other than fruitless meetings, nothing tangible was being done by any of the orgs to show us as a trade deserving of respect. 

I also said they needed to show some backbone. Soon after, I was invited back on the show as a guest when trade matters were discussed by UCG, LCDC and RMT leaders. The LTDA was invited but chose not to show up. 

I asked why they didn't go after John Mason as many think he illegally issued Uber it's first license, it wasn't received well and needless to say I didn't get an answer as my question and presence wasn't a comfort.

Since then I've regularly posted my thoughts on social media and always called for firm action by the org leaders in meetings with TFL, direct action where necessary and a firm undertaking by all orgs to stand together for the sake of us, the drivers they represent. 

I've regularly warned of the dangers complacency brings and of allowing missed opportunities to become common practice, not once was I or other advocates of similar thoughts listened to and has now lead us to a position of desperation. We all know what needs to be done as a unified trade but we've never been listened to, never been considered and in my opinion never will be.

Nine months later, our fate lies in the hands of the same corporate whores I warned against in December and nothing's changed. One of them however, Leon Daniels has decided to retire. He leaves having ravaged the lives of all of us, responsible for drivers depression, repossessed homes and cabs, wrecked marriages along with countless  numbers of Uber victims he could've prevented.
He also leaves with a wonderful payout no doubt, along with an equally wonderful pension partially payed for by Uber and Geely, I suspect. 

The pension fund for TFL is managed by Blackrock who have shares in Uber and also Geely, so aside from our nightmare contributing to it, every electric cab you buy adds more to his pension pot somehow through the financial quagmire of hedge funds.
You couldn't make it up.

Every week a bombshell comes to light regarding the corruption, double dealing, cover-ups, sneaky emails trying to manage bad press, and endless accounts of deviant behaviour by Uber drivers ignored by TFL managers. The latest being 13k Uber drivers driving without the adequate DBS checks who've been given 28 days by Helen Chapman to rectify the situation, we all know if they were BC drivers each one would be suspended immediately.

Also this week it was revealed TFL signed a non-disclosure agreement with Uber back in May shortly before Uber received a 4 month extension, why?
Secrets and lies obviously lace the corridors of TFL's power base and we're the victims of them, it's time we put a stop to it. A meeting was had by org leaders and TFL but...........?

We all know Uber function on an illegal licence and business model. The crimes committed by its drivers are well documented so why is it allowed to continue?
The corporate pound note is all forgiving, that's why.

But that doesn't mean we should be, but our silence gives another impression.

The only fight we see from the orgs is constantly on display on social media as seen in recent weeks. It's like a permanent power struggle with infighting clear for the world to see.

All of them insulting each other and battling for trade supremacy as if it matters, forgetting their petty arguments and egos mean nothing to us when we're working longer hours with little family time. 

If they spent half their time fighting TFL as they do each other we'd be much better off.
This has to stop but somehow I can't see it happening.

It's come to my attention that drivers are becoming increasingly tired of this behaviour and direction, they want more. A driver lead national day of action has been decided upon and for the first time in our history, taxis are being asked to join with private hire drivers in an effort to maximise the effect.

It's also endorsed by the GMB.

It's our chance to make our own stand where the orgs have failed. From what I'm told the last straw was the deafening silence that followed the Mail revelations, but more recently Inspector Billany's letter to TFL and last week's DBS discovery. It seems no amount of proof of wrongdoing and possible malfeasance is enough to bring about change, nor will it prompt action and that's the problem.

There is no direction planned, this is a chance for all of us to make a stand in our own way, whatever stand we hoped the orgs would make for us, but won't.

It's a case of organising and coordinating among ourselves with the only guidelines being to behave like the professionals we all are and to act within the constraints of the law at all times.
One day of action won't solve our many complex problems and damaged trade but in order to begin the process of repair we must first force TFL and the establishment to take us seriously and listen, which is the most important element that none of the orgs have managed to secure.

The last few years have taken its tole on people and it's a case of enough is enough. Driver lead action has now become a reality which is something TFL and the authorities are equally desperate to avoid as its uncontrollable, despite the threat of revocation of licenses which has been a successful tool used to control us along with being safe in the knowledge of an inadequate record of missed opportunities to make our voices heard.
However, the constant "Big news Monday" with nothing happening Tuesday has had its day and the tide has turned.

It's a day for you to make your voice heard, to protect your future and to stand shoulder to shoulder with legitimate PH in order to shout louder than before and make a difference for yourself instead of burying your head in the sand and hoping someone does it for you. Forget trade differences for this one day, argue later if we make a loud enough noise.

Together we must stand firm and say no to the corruption and wilful destruction of our livelihoods throughout the country, demand Uber's license be denied, the business model outlawed and those responsible for our 5 years of torment brought to book wherever they are, it can't be tolerated anymore.

The success of this day depends solely on the will to make it work, your will to protect your job and your family. It must be considered a watershed moment for us all and approached with the utmost common sense and intent to forget all our differences for 6 hours and put our families interests first and foremost.
It can work if we want it to but we have to be grown up, adult and make it work.

Men have spent hours gathering proof and evidence of guilt, corruption and all sorts of wrongdoing, managed to get it in the media only for lead figures to allow it to be forgotten.
It's like they've loaded a gun to be fired at TFL, only to watch it dropped by those charged with pulling the trigger.


The 25th September is MAKE A STAND day.
Make it our day.
Make it work.



Anonymous said...

Agree totally. Definitely great to unite with legitimate private hire for this battle. Also article highlights that it's well worth boycotting purchase of new electric cab until this mess sorted. Anything and everything is now needed to get rid of uber. I hear they have just about finished off the new York taxis and if not stopped we are next. Now it needs doing and hard.

Anonymous said...

If there is going to be a day of action I hope it is for a day and not for a couple of hours in fact make it for a week bring London to a standstill.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's right, highlight the problem, bring London to a halt like the train drivers do, effect the economy, money is the only thing they take notice off. The government and their underlings are effecting our livelihood, we must effect theirs, or they will not act.

Anonymous said...

THANK GOD, at last someone from the BC world who accepts that there is such a thing as legitimate PH!

Some of us have done our UTMOST to drag standards up for nearly 50 years

Some of us have never failed a compliance visit because we work extremely hard to stay within the law and regulations

Some us have enormous respect for the BC world and respect the fact that you deserve certain privaleges that our drivers don't!

Some of us have suffered financially and mentally as much as BC drivers

Some of us have paid tax and VAT and NI for out office staff since the mid 60s because that's what you DO!

Some of us know what's right and what's wrong!

This situation needs a MONUMENTAL JOINT EFFORT!

Don't leave us out, we REALLY are NOTHING like Uber and we need each other, we need ANYBODY who understands what has happened and those that don't understand need to be woken up!

S V said...

The Chink in the cab trade is division, it is time to stop manipulative authorities driving a wedge and splitting us up.
We need to show we're solid and stop the in fighting that is being used against us which then weakens us.

Time for a fresh approach, time to build up our numbers, time for a strong mandate.

Any trade org double dealing should be shaken up by the members.

The cab trade should never be in this situation ever again.

I'm one of the fortunate ones, many I know have properly suffered.

I've said it once say it again,

The cab trade should never be in this situation ever again.

I wish you well

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. Yes I am from the black cab world, but have every respect for legitimate private hire. Also London black cabs as I am should be aware that there are hackney carriages and legitimate private hire companies all over the country that are being forced out of business by Uber and their dodgy business model. We must all unite, the whole country to get involved in what unites us. I personally would like to see a national cab act.