Friday, April 10, 2020

RMT Issue Statement After The Senior Assistant General Secretary Made A Number Of Controversial Comments On Social Media.

Head Office Circular No. MFP/129

To all Branches and Regional Councils

10th April 2020

Dear Colleagues

Social Media Comments by Senior Assistant General Secretary

The Senior Assistant General Secretary made a number of controversial comments on social media this week in relation to the public health crisis and the government.

Once I became aware of the matter, it was necessary for the President and I to issue a statement which stated: "Steve Hedley's comments do not represent the views of this trade union and are wholly unacceptable." I also wrote to the Senior Assistant General Secretary but have yet to receive a reply.

However, the comments have attracted widespread negative media coverage which has led to an extraordinarily large volume of complaints, from both RMT members and the public, through social media and also directly to the Union and our staff with unprecedented levels of hostility.

This matter was placed before a Special meeting of the National Executive Committee today. The NEC has taken the following Decision:

“We note the report from the General Secretary and instruct him to suspend the Senior Assistant General Secretary with immediate effect, pending a formal investigation.

Relevant branches, Regional Councils and members to be advised by text /email.”

I would be grateful if you could bring the content of this circular to the attention of all members in your Branch.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash

London Cab Drivers Club Chairman Gives Update On TfL Conference Call

Today we held the 4th conference call with TfL. Let me try and explain what was discussed.

TfL were extremely disappointed at the lack of any meaningful advice from the DFT regarding passenger transportation as they were looking for guidance in taxi & PH movement.

We all agreed that TfL should act on their own volition and ban transport in PH vehicles due to them not complying with the Govt social distancing rules.
The lack of any protective clothing was discussed but TfL said they had received no assistance.

All driver medicals will be treated on a case by case basis and they would be very pragmatic in these unprecedented times.

No NSL centres open so all taxis have a six month pass if their plate runs out during this time and taxis will be given a six month license extension.

If taxis have failed a test prior, Tfl will accept video/ invoice showing work has been done.
We will know in 2 weeks time if the taxi age limit of 12 years is to be scrapped or not.

***They are still working out a viable solution to help drivers who licenses run out whilst the situation prevails. 

Again, we have been busy with driver concerns and issues so if you have any issues that need addressing either taxi or personal licensing, please email us and I can deal directly with Senior Tfl staff to resolve these issues.

Keep well and safe 
Grant Davis 
Chairman London Cab Drivers Club  

***  Again TfL are ignoring the standing legislation. 
As we’ve posted many time on Taxi Leaks... if you’ve sent off your application in full and through no fault of yours, TfL can’t process the application, then under the transport act 1985 sec 17(7), your old licence remains bailed until such time when TfL can process the renewal application. 
This has already been confirmed be Leon Daniels on behalf of previous TfL commissioner Sir Peter Hendy... 

The question needs to be asked “Why are TfL ignoring this?”.

On all other matters, yesterday’s conference call was good news, so a big thank you to all concerned

A Special “Thank You” 
To Grant and Aimee who recently sorted out a drivers problem. The drivers Taxi had all work completed and was due up to be plated, but the passing centres were closed.

Grant got involved on behalf of the driver, and within 24 hours an employee of NSL delivered (in person) new plates for the drivers Vehicle. 

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Taxi Charity Supporting Veterans Through This Pandemic

The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans has been supporting veterans since 1948 and during the COVID-19 pandemic has called on London’s black cabbies and charity supporters to go the extra mile to ensure that veterans have someone to chat with or to do their shopping.

Last week, the Chairman of the Taxi Charity, Ian Parsons, did some shopping for WWII veteran Harry Rawlins, who lives in Edgware. 

Harry, an Arnhem veteran, was in the 8th Armoured Brigade, 30 Corps and was part of Operation Market Garden in September 1944. Every year Harry joins the trips organised by the Taxi Charity to the Netherlands for the Arnhem commemoration services

Ian Parsons, Chairman of the Taxi Charity,  said, “We know that many of our veterans have a support network of friends and family but at this unprecedented time the charity needs to do all it can to ensure that none of the veterans are without someone to do their shopping or someone to speak to when they need to talk. “

Ian called at the local supermarket and delivered bags of shopping to Harry’s door and had a chat, while always maintaining the required two metres distance.

Harry Rawlins, WWII veteran, said, “The Taxi Charity are truly a lifeline. For many years I have joined the charity on trips to the continent to pay my respects to the comrades who didn’t come home, on day trips throughout the South East and at parties and social gatherings. 

The care they show to us veterans is amazing and they have really enriched my life by giving me the opportunity to meet regularly with other veterans. Being socially isolated is very difficult but the regular contact I receive from Ian and Anne, his wife and knowing that there are always people that I can call on for help is a very reassuring position to be in.”

The Taxi Charity has had to put all its fundraising activities on hold due to the Coronavirus restrictions so if you could help the charity please do consider donating at;

Harry Rawlins as the Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm  - the certificate reads:
As a Rifleman, and then as a Section Comdr., this man took part in a number of patrols during the liberation of France and Belgium, two of which owed their success to his personal courage and leadership.

As a Bren Gunner on one occasion, he acted entirely on his own initiative by engaging enemy who had pinned a Section down exposing himself to considerable danger, he neutralised the enemy fire, released his section and paved the way to a successful attack.

He was presented with the Legion D’Honneur, France’s highest military honour, in 2015.

A recollection from Harry Rawlins
We, that is C company started off from Nijmegen in Holland towards Kleve in Germany on 7th February 1945. We were supposed to be on a peace move [that is moving within our own lines], but the troops that preceded us had met stronger opposition than expected and had been unable to clear the way. We weren’t expecting to start fighting until we reached the other side of Kleve. 

Then we were to advance down between the river Rhine on our left and the Siegfried Line on our right. Clearing it as we went. Thinking we were within our own lines we were relaxed, and we only put out a Bren Gun when we stopped for Anti-Aircraft Defence. 

We stopped on the outskirts of Kleve and got out of our Halftracks to stretch our legs. Not knowing we had driven straight into the enemy’s front line and they had woken up to it before we did. They opened fire on us and we took up positions to return fire. They Mortared us. It was then that we had some casualties.

Tom Chalkley our Corporal and Section Commander.
Ted Peppiat a Rifleman
Jack Smith our Bren Gunner

There were others wounded, but not in our section
I did not see Tom or Ted, but Jack was about twelve metres away. I called to him “Are you alright Jack”. But I could not make out what he was saying. I crawled to his side. He was wearing a leather jerkin. There was something wrong, but I did not know what. 

While there another Corporal came. He said “Grab hold of his shoulder”. He grabbed the other one and we ran half draggIng, half carrying Jack across about 20 metres of open ground until we could leave him to be picked up by the stretcher bearer.
I went back, collected the Bren Gun and returned to my position.

While there my Platoon Commander, Lieutenant Michael Howe Hewlett came and whilst talking to me was shot dead by a sniper.
It was a bad day for us.

Please Help Frontline ICU NHS Staff Fight COVID*

The amazing women at 
as well as our own @HotwaxAngie doing amazing things for the wonderful #NHSheroes 

It's the little things, such as Vaseline that is making a difference when staff have masks on for 12 hours. Donations are making a huge difference.

We know it’s difficult times, but every penny helps, no donation is too small. 

The funds are being raised to purchase essentials, food and water for frontline ICU NHS staff at Royal Brompton Hospital and Chelsea Westminster Hospital in London. 

Nurses and doctors are working tirelessly around the clock and are at times not able to purchase groceries for themselves. We are purchasing essential groceries on their behalf as they dedicate their lives and time to fight COVID. 

The idea is not only to secure their needs and give them more time to recuperate between shifts, but also be more prudent for the general public. 

It would enable these brave Frontline Covid workers who are at higher risk to be further isolated and limit their need to enter supermarkets where the elderly/vulnerable also shop. 

Chelsea and Westminster also have a Rapid Response Fund - please visit at link pro video.. A Desperate frontline nurse ...we shouldn't let that happen again ...

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

FaceBook Too Slow To Remove Dangerous Conspiracy Theories Say Government Minsters

The alarming sight of a flaming phone mast set alight by conspiracy theorists has enraged Government ministers.

The arsonists were apparently motivated by a false belief that 5G helps spread coronavirus, something that Downing Street has described as a “crazed conspiracy theory”.

The conspiracy theory can be traced to repeated broadcasts, in English, from Russian media, aimed at Western audiences.  

For many years, Facebook has resisted calls to ban 5G conspiracy theories on its site, citing a commitment to free speech. 

But the social media giant was forced to reconsider this when the theories became entangled with the coronavirus outbreak and slipped from online into the real world. James Cook has more detail. 

Last week phone masts were set alight by believers in the baseless theory that coronavirus has anything at all to do with the new, faster 5G internet speeds being rolled out around the world. 

There's evidence that the 5G conspiracies began as a Russia-backed disinformation campaign, with the first posts linking it to coronavirus appearing on social media all the way back in January. 

But this weekend risks to the life and limb of workers trying to patch up the UK's internet infrastructure has finally pushed Facebook to act. 

The company says it will now begin to delete posts which link 5G to coronavirus and could cause physical harm, putting the burden on its army of fact-checkers to determine what fits this definition. 

The theory might be new, but the crisis sheds light on an old moderation problem for Facebook. 

From antivax to mass shootings, few conspiracy theories that spread online stay there.

If You’re Not Using Your Taxi Get A SORN, Plus Think About Cheaper Insurance

Another 305 Taxi vehicles gone from the fleet 
No new ones...That’s over 600 vehicles gone in just 2weeks. 

If you are staying a home and are not getting an income from your vehicle, just tell DVLA you’re taking your vehicle off the road, for example if you’re keeping it in a garage or car port (it must be off road). 

This is sometimes called a ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’ (SORN).
In My case, a 2012 TX4 it will save me £48.68 a month. 

You can make a SORN online 👈click this link or by phoning 0300 123 4321 if you’re registered as the vehicle’s keeper.

But you mustn’t drive while on a SORN, it’s easy to cancel once you decide to go back to work, just call the same number 0300 123 4321 .

Another saving you can make is to phone up your insurer and tell them you are not working the Taxi for hire and reward, different insurers will have different savings. 

If you want to use the cab but are not working, you can insure your vehicle for SDP (Social, domestic and pleasure).

If you have taken it off road and have a SORN, you can insure for just fire and theft. Your insurer will give you full details of savings that can be made. 
It’s not a fortune but in these unprecedented times every little helps. 

Not all insurers may be as accommodating, but we have spoken to PLAN, and they currently have a range of measures for their drivers. 

The following figures are for week ending 5.4.2020....

Taxi driver licences 22,327 down 26
0 are new
Taxi vehicle licences 18,249 down 305
0 are new
Private hire driver licences 111,626
Down 100
81 are new
Private hire vehicle licences 93,250
Down 1622
0 are new

3409 petrol cabs have been license in total. 

We started this post with the sad news of the loss of Taxi vehicles from our fleet, but this is insignificant in the light of the fact that a number of drivers have succumbed to this terrible virus. Plus many more are currently seriously ill in hospital many in intensive care. 

Our sincere condolences go to the family and friends of our departed brothers and sisters. 
Also we would like to wish those currently suffering the effects of this pandemic, a speedy recovery and a swift return to your love ones.