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Uber Exploiting Deregulation Act Loophole

Unite the national union for taxi drivers to meet TfL

This week Unite the national union for taxi drivers will be meeting Transport for London at Unite’s Holborn headquarters. Taxi driver Reps from across the country will be attending.

From the Guardian: Uber exploiting loophole to ‘spread tentacles’ across UK, union says

Transport for London has agreed to meet Unite as a national union to discuss the ongoing cross border hiring situation. Unite believes that the meeting will the first time that taxi driver Reps from outside London will have the opportunity meet face to face with representatives from London Taxi and Private Hire Licensing and Compliance. Until now drivers have had go through their own licensing authority for action on cross border hiring and protection from the effects of the Deregulation Act.

Unfortunately the reality is that cab enforcement for out of area private hire vehicles almost impossible for local authorities to deal with. Only the authority that the driver, vehicle and operator is licenced with has jurisdiction. Which is why  Unite will be calling on Transport for London to do more to address the current cross border situation, particularly in the immediate short term.

Unite acknowledges that London Mayor, Sadiq Khan and TfL are now introducing measures to create a more structured and regulated private hire service including: An english language requirement, full time hire and reward insurance, plus, and in line with the taxi trade – a robust prior to licensing driving test (coming soon).

The Mayor is also lobbing Parliament to introduce for taxi and private hire a “requirement to ensure a journey either starts or ends in the area for which the driver and vehicle are licensed”. If successful this measure – which is supported by Unite – will go a long way to alleviate the cross border hiring situation. Details of these measures can be found in the Mayor’s Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan

A full report of the of Unite’s meeting with TfL, plus reports from across the country will be published in the next issue of Cab Trade News.

Posted by Peter J Rose. @peterjrose1

Read more…

Unite says Scrap the Act!

From the Winter 2016/17 issue of Cab Trade News…

It is now two years that this pernicious Tory Government passed Clause 11 of the Deregulation Act, allowing private hire operators to sub-contract bookings. At the time Unite fought a hard battle to defeat the Act and were successful in removing one of the clauses. Unite came close to defeating Clause 11 but the Liberal Democrats showed their true colours by supporting the Tories allowing the Clause to be passed. As Unite said at the time: 

“by being able to pass jobs from one operator to another, the role of the local licensing enforcement would become impossible because currently only the licensing officers from a licensing authority area have the power to take enforcement action against the vehicle and driver. This proposal would result in vehicles and drivers working literally hundreds of miles from their licensing authority, with no controls putting the public’s safety at risk.”

Never was a truer word spoken and unfortunately our prediction has happened. Unite organised huge lobbies of Parliament, House of Commons debates, parliamentary questions and many visits to see Ministers. But a big problem was the lack of support from the trade organisations and taxi drivers who failed to see the problems Clause 11 would bring. Now more than ever we need to remove cross-border hiring for good.

But Unite also had our own solution to cross-border hiring, which is for every taxi and private hire vehicle to accept bookings only in their own licensing area or for one that finishes in their own area. This would stop vehicles adopting “licenses of convenience” to get around high local licensing standards.

It is worth looking at the effect that out of town and the growth of private hire has had in Britain. With London licensed private hire vehicles seemingly operating nationwide now, in three years private hire driver numbers in London have increased from 65,000 to 111,000, vehicles from 52,000 to 82,000 but the number of Operators has fallen from 30,000 to 28,000.

The decrease in operators has been seen nationwide as small private hire firms either leaving the trade or are swallowed by bigger companies. So in Leeds operators have fallen from 134 to 60 in three years. So much for the De-regulation Bill cutting red tape and giving more choice to the customer. It is a disaster and this chaos must end now.

Unite will be launching a campaign to repeal and scrap Clause 11 of the Deregulation Act and end cross-border hiring (also we want the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 amended to remove the references to cross-border hiring). It is now clear that public safety and local licensing can no longer be guaranteed whilst cross-border hirings continue to be carried out. The licensing system is being abused to the point it is becoming meaningless.

Join the Unite Cab Section and join the fightback.

Article by Mike Hedges.


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