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Cleaning Up After Boris!

Comment by Jim Kelly, Chair – Unite the union Cab Trade Committee.

Things may be quiet on the streets but Unite is still meeting and pushing the Mayor to ensure that the many weaknesses of the recent Private Hire Review are addressed. Myself and the Regional Secretary Peter Kavanagh recently met the Mayor alongside other London unions. A number of important issues affecting all Londoners were discussed, including affordable housing and worker’s rights.

One thing we all agree on is the terrible state Johnson left London in. His legacy is failure on all fronts, not least for taxi drivers and other London transport workers. Unite is now pushing The Mayor to deliver on the chaos of increasing PH numbers and the race to the bottom created by UBER and its activities.

A start has been made with TfL’s announcement on bus lanes. Many of these concessions, as Peter Rose points out in his recent article, are the product of hard slog by the London Cab Ranks Committee. All three organisations’ representatives on the committee; Alan McGrady (LCDC), Richard Massett (LTDA) and Unite’s own Peter Rose deserve a lot of the credit for these successes.

Unite is still campaigning for reviewing the 2015 Private Hire Review. When we met Sadiq earlier this year we gained assurances that he would look at any issues of passenger safety which may not have been addressed adequately from the review.

Unite has called for higher PH drivers standards & topographical testing with no Grandfather rights. We intend to continue to call for Mandatory Operator Insurance, PH vehicles to have to hit the same deadlines as taxis and for all licenced PH operators to pay their tax in the UK. We also support primary legislation to cap PH numbers. We would hope this issue will be resolved soon.

Unite Cab Section believes in unity, but unity is a means to an end not an end in itself; our work on committees such as the London Ranks Committee and Licensing & Enforcement has achieved a lot. We have never simply believed that getting cab organisations in one room is useful, if it ends up as a “cats in a bag” situation, with no agreed outcome and even less effective unity than before.

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