Sunday, 27 December 2009

New Year's Eve 2009.

Seasons greetings to you all and hope you have had a very Merry Christmas with this part of the festive season now over we look forward to the New Year and the celebrations that take place in the capital on the 31st December and 1st January.

Many of you will choose to work over New Year and especially New Year's Eve and what we would like you to observe at the RMT London taxi branch is how you are treated has a London taxi-cab driver and if you are allowed access at a reasonable time to and within the secure zone so you may pick up passengers who are seeking and wish to use the services of a London taxi-cab.

Over recent years London's taxi-cabs have been excluded from entering the zone until the very early hours of the morning last year it was well past 4 am. People come to London, people expect to be able to find a taxi-cab plying for hire near or within the zone. We know a request was made last year to Transport for London and the Public Cariage Office for a temporary rank on the Mall, this request was turned down by a senior member of the management team of the Public Carriage Office. So if you chose to work this New Year let us known at the RMT London taxi branch whether you were able to go about your business at a reasonable time and pick up Londoners and tourists who require the services of a London taxi-cab and not that of a pedicab/rickshaw, tout or a licensed mini-cab driver touting illegally.

A very Happy New Year to you and your family and let us hope that 2010 is the year that the UK economy finally recovers.

Friday, 18 December 2009

John McDonnell MP and the RMT Parliamentary Group Swing into Action...

Lead convenor and London MP for Hayes and Harlington John Mcdonnell swung into action on behalf of the London taxi branch of the specialist transport union RMT after a meeting held recently at Portcullis house, Victoria Embankment, SW1.

The Mayor Boris Johnson, Tranpsort Commissioner Peter Hendy, Westminster City Council, London Councils and all of London's Members of Parliament have recieved a letter informing them of a number of concerns London's taxi-cab drivers have with Transport for London and the its division known has the Public Carriage Office.

The RMT parliamentary group have raised concerns over the vetting procedure of "knowledge of London" candidates and have called for a Public Inquiry into the PCO. The main purpose of the inquiry would be to reassure the public and return that bond of trust that is unique and such an important part of the London taxi trade. They have also informed all the above named parties that the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) Bill if it reaches the House of Commons WILL BE OPPOSED. You should note clause 19 of this bill would give Transport for London and all London Councils the power to introduce pedicab/rickshaw ranks and bays. So it is clear that others within the London taxi trade talk and sometimes print a lot but it is the RMT specialist transport union and its well organised machine and staff at all our offices throughout the UK that deliver and lobby on the issues that affect you and your family.

If ever you had a doubt about what trade union/organisation to join well here is proof that if you join the RMT you won't just get a voice on the taxi rank or in the street but your legitimate concerns will be heard in the Gasworks (house's of Parliament) and corridors of power. Remember others say ban but want to give them ranks/bays (ask the LTDA and UNITE because that is their position), some just ignore pedicabs & rickshaws however here at the RMT specialist transport union we organise seek dialogue and if necessary oppose legislation that will have an adverse affect on your livelihood.

It's not just Christmas yet and with plenty of hardwork to come be sure to join the only trade union that will give you a real say in the matters and issues that affect your life, so join the RMT specialist transport union and become a member of the RMT London taxi branch.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Never On Our Knees...

The RMT is the only trade union that is growing at this present moment in time and the simple reason for this is we listen to our members. For too long the taxi trade in London has been led by a bunch a people who no doubt care but fail to see that their appeasement of polices laid down by the misguided at Transport for London have failed not only you and your family, but the wider travelling public. We have a mountain to climb if we are to repair the damage done to the world's finest taxi-cab service and we shall be hitting the ranks, the streets, the roads in 2010 with a very simple message and that is join the one trade organisation that is prepared to listen to you and allow you the members to set policy for your jobs and your families future.

What has anybody to fear of the RMT, the answer is nothing for we are not a top down union telling you what will happen and telling you what hours you can work, for you're self employed and just to clarify yet again the domestic driver hours does not apply to self-employed taxi-cab drivers and neither does the working time directive. It is a great shame other trade oragnisations choose to mislead you, in fact their time would be better spent trying to reslove the issue of the satellite mini-cab offices, a serious problem that they allowed to be created and mushroom out of all control we may add.

On the 5th of Febuary 2009 thousands of taxi-cab drivers attended a demonstration at Trafalgar Square, up to 8,000 according to the LTDA yet what did this actually achieve? For at this present time we have 4, yes 4 new taxi-cab ranks in the West End of London with one illegal rank closed down at Whitcomb Street. Now with TFL looking into bays on the public highway (ranks) for mini-cabs, Westminster council seeking to give ranks to pedicabs with the blessing of the LTDA and the union UNITE and satellite mini-cab offices flourishing at an alarming rate all is not rosy in the land of London taxi-cab driver and all is certainly not well with your trade representation.

So what should you do? Well at the RMT we think the answer is simple if you have never joined a trade union or organisation try the London taxi branch of the RMT for we have many battles ahead, not internal ones we'll leave the sniping to others but our battles will be with Transport for London and the Public Carriage Office. We shall do our level best to stop the rot and not just hold the line but bring a better future for you and your family. We aim to achieve this through dialogue, good sensible knowledgable dialogue, but if this approach doesn't work we can always lobby our parliamentary group, picket, protest and highlight to the wider world via all forms of media the problems we face dealing with the many levels and bodies that have influence over your working lives. If you haven't already think about joining the fatest growing taxi branch in the UK, join the RMT and know you have a winner not just behind but standing shoulder to shoulder right next to you.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Setting the Record Straight.

The working time directive and the drivers hours regulations and two entirely different legislative instruments. The working time directive limits the maximum number of hours an employee may work here in the UK, workers can choose to "opt out" and agree to work longer hours. The trade union movement here in the UK campaigns to stop people working longer hours and to stop unscrupulous employers taking advantage of their workforce. You should note the Self-employed (that's us) remain unaffected.

Now the drivers hours regulations have long been enshrined in law and these deal with truck and bus drivers etc. From time to time the Department of Transport review these and the RMT being a responsible union are invited to respond. The RMT's position is clear IF the Department of Transport decided to look into the Taxi trade and hours of work then consultation should take place with the whole of the taxi trade. Now you should note that nothing is presently planned by the Department of Transport and we are sorry to see yet again more scare tactics from the LTDA.

It seems that some trade organisations within the taxi trade are more concerned at deflecting questions asked of them especially when you look at the growth of the satellite mini-cab office. Yes the satellite mini-cab office was created by Transport for London whilst the LTDA and the union UNITE had the ear of the previous Mayor of London. Now we have hundreds of clipboard operators with ranks of cars lined up taking your work, what have these organisations done to stop the rise of the clipboard operator?

The LTDA and the union UNITE want to see pedicab ranks all over London, they are not prepared to object to clause 19 of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) Bill. If this bill becomes law you will see pedicab ranks starting first in Westminster and then other London Borough's. If you can have a pedicab rank what next a mini-cab rank? Talking of mini-cab ranks the surface transport panel of Transport for London produced a paper recently and this paper talks of mini-cab bays on the public highway.

We hope this sets the record straight and if you do have any questions of queries please contact us via our email address or mobile (call or text) on 07899 786 433. Please do keep an eye on the blog which we intend to up date on a regular basis.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Waterloo Station Recruitment Day.

Water-loo Station was a hive of RMT activity on the 27th Novem-ber 2009 with the local RMT branch swinging into recruitment action along with younger members of the RMT and the recently formed London taxi branch.

The general secretary Bob Crow turned up and all members of the union met for a chat and photo call under the clock at the steps of Waterloo. Pictured from left to right is RMT branch member and activist Eddie Morias, David Vidgen Branch Secretary, member and activist Trevor Denton, our General Secretary Bob Crow and John Kennedy vice chair of the London taxi branch. What was pleasing was the reaction of taxi-cab drivers on the rank at Waterloo station as leaflets, pens, lanyards were given out along with many application forms to join the fastest growing branch and trade union here in the United Kingdom.

The RMT London taxi branch has come in for a lot of stick of late but like any good trade union we just get on with the job of defending the rights of taxi-cab drivers and your right to ply for hire. With satellite offices fast becoming a major threat to that right we must prepare and be ready to take action to protect our jobs and future here in the capital. Just remember it was the RMT that led and took decisive action about the "killer on the knowledge", it's the RMT that is leading the way regarding pedicabs/rickshaws in its campaign to ban these objects from the public highway and oppose "clause 19" of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) Bill. Others talk of action but here at the RMT we have a track record second to no union or association we organise and ensure our branches operate to the best of their ability.

A special thank you must go out to all members who attended but especially to our fellow brothers here at Waterloo station the welcome they gave us was just amazing. I/we would also like to thank committee members Stan Marut and Paul Bond for the great work on the rank and the many drivers who donated to the RMT widows and orphans fund and recieved a 2010 diary in return. Like all days they have a habit of relying on one individual who doesn't get in the picture but manages to sort nearly everything else out and that is member and branch activist Michael Tinnion, a big thank you from all of us at the London Taxi branch of the RMT.

The picture below is of Paul Bond Committee member of the London taxi branch (hi-vis yellow bib) with Trevor Denton member and branch activist, JK and members of the Waterloo RMT branch plus our Regional Organiser Brian Whitehead on the centre island at Waterloo station taxi rank. Once again we must extend a massive thank you to all the RMT members present it was a pleasure and an honour to meet with such dedicated individuals who are prepared to represent their fellow colleagues.

Friday, 27 November 2009

London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) Bill.

With the new parliamentary session underway and the aboved named bill in the pipeline at the gasworks we can confirm that a carry over motion was passed in the House of Commons recently and this bill is therefore still live and awaiting a 3rd reading in the House of Lords.

Please remember that clause 19 of this bill will create pedicab ranks/bays all over Greater London and will lead to reasonable people believing that these objects are in fact licensed. The RMT London taxi branch is opposing clause 19 of this bill on the grounds of public safety and we await the date of a 3rd reading in the House of Lords which will then trigger the window in which we are allowed to petition the Commons.

You should also note that the RMT have offered to talk to transport for London on this issue they have declined. We have let it be known to our Parliamentary group and no doubt when and if this bill reaches committee stage in the House of Commons we shall be letting MP's know exactly how some parts of Transport for London fail to deal with real issues that affect our livelihoods.

Join the only union prepapred to challenge proposed legislation where it counts and that is in the gasworks, sorry Parliament. Log onto and join online or email the branch at for an application form by post.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Welcome to the RMT London Taxi Branch.

Welcome friends and colleagues to the online blogsite of the RMT London taxi branch. Over the coming weeks, months and years we intend to update this site for ease of use for you the hard working self employed taxi-cab driver.

We shall keep you informed of branch meetings, taxi trade matters that affect us all and keep you up to date with what is really going on in the gasworks sorry corridors of power of Parliament, City hall, Transport for London and the many London councils. By using modern technology we can ensure all relevant information is merely a click or two (maybe three or four) of the mouse away.

Our blog contains many useful links to the RMT, GLA, Metropolitan/City of London Police, Transport for London  and even Parliament where for example you can keep an eye on the progress of bills that may be progressing through the house. Presently the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) Bill is awaiting a date in the house of Lords you can see this for yourself by clicking on the link and then clicking again on bills before parliament then simply scroll down to the letter L and here you'll find the bill. If you click on the actual bill name you will find a flow chart displaying exactly where this bill is with regards to the parliamentary process. Oh I must say have a read of the minutes of the committee stage in the house of Lords makes very interesting reading especially the parts relating to pedicabs/rickshaws.

We've also included the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service, very useful and helpful especially considering the way tickets are issued to us within the London taxi trade. You'll also find some useful links to the world of radio/media where because of the job we do we tend to spend a lot of time listening to stations like LBC 97.3 fm, bbc London 94.9 fm, radio 4, talksport 1089am and 5 Live. I must say the listen again service proves itself to be invaluable especially if you happen to miss part of a programme that affects you or your livelihood.

Remember this union and branch will only be as strong as you the hard working self employed taxi-cab driver. The more of you that join the stronger and louder our voice will become so like I've said before please do log onto and join up online or contact the Branch Secretary David Vidgen at or via mobile on 07899 786 433.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Economic Impact of Traffic Signals.

On Wednes-day the 18th of Novem-ber the GLA Econo-mics team hosted a forum/seminar looking into the economic impact of traffic signals within Greater London. Since the year 2000 over 1000 extra sets of traffic lights have appeared on the Transport for London road network.

Now from a Taxi trade perspective traffic lights can cause delay and create congestion on roads that were once used to free flowing traffic and more than likely had a zebra crossing which allowed pedestrians the right of way with out the need for pelican crossings.

The Shadow Transport Secretary Theresa Villiers MP spoke of the need for local flexibility and the devolvement of decision making from central Government plus the recognition that previous adminstrations may have gone too far with planting traffic lights at many junctions. John Kennedy Vice Chair of the RMT London Taxi branch informed the Shadow Minister and the forum that a future Government needed to look at the many road narrowing programmes in combination with the many hundreds of newly planted traffic lights if we were to seriously tackle congestion within the urban environment. What was clear from the meeting/forum was the need for change and Cynthia Grant of London first delivered a very balanced presentation with a member of tranport for London showing great concern at a picture of a row of buses on Oxford Street creating congestion.

Kulveer Ranger Mayor's Director of Transport spoke of the need for change but also confirmed that the congestion charge had reduced the amount of traffic travelling through the centre of London but that congestion had in fact increased in recent years. This statement was worrying for it really shows that the policy of grabbing road space, planting traffic lights and creating transport for London and or local authority bottlenecks is having an adverse effect on the environment and the road network.

The RMT London Taxi branch attended and was interested to see the competition Addison Lee was present, the great shame was no other group or trade body from the London Taxi trade were present. It seems this trade is sleepwalking and not getting fully involved in the many issues that face our industry. We at the RMT specialist transport union will get involved at all levels from Parliament to the GLA and your Taxi rank/stand. So if you have never joined a trade union before or you're sitting on the fence and wondering if the RMT is the union for you give yourself the Green light and don't get stuck on Red or dither on Amber but contact the London taxi branch via email or phone and join a real trade union that won't just bat for you on paper but will get involved at local, London and at national level.

You can contact us at or contact the Branch Secretary David Vidgen on 07899 786 433 we look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

RMT Airport Representative Mick Moran on the case over M4 Bus Lane.

The M4 bus lane saga continues and so does the campaign by the RMT London taxi branch. Mick Moran RMT Heathrow Representative is seen here outside Parliament delivering even more letters of complaint to Members of Parliament. With well over 1,000 letters signed by taxi-cab drivers at Heathrow airport and the Royal Oak taxi centre the RMT London taxi branch demonstrates its commitment to the cause to see the law enforced by the Metropolitan Police and the Highways Agency.

Taxi-cab drivers should be under no illusion that this issue is going to take time to resolve because of the lack of will by those in authority. With the December branch meeting of the RMT fast approaching members will be looking forward to a busy calendar in the new year with plenty of demonstrations and issues like the M4 bus lane being brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

Already members of the RMT London taxi branch are recieving letters from their respective members of parliament with Siobhain Mcdonagh MP for Mitcham & Morden writing to the Highways Agency and Met Police. Those in authority need to understand we shall campaign, complain, picket & demonstrate until issues that affect our livelihoods are dealt with in a proffessional proper manner.

If you are thinking of joining a trade organisation look no further than the RMT London taxi branch log onto and join the specialist transport union RMT.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

RMT London Taxi Branch heads to Parliament.

Welcome to the new website/blog of the RMT London Taxi Branch and to kick start our first post what better way than to inform you of a visit to Parliament by three of our committee members.

Brian Hall, John Kennedy Vice Chair and David Vidgen Branch Secretary (pictured outside Portcullis House, Victoria Embankment) along with James Croy RMT Political Officer met with RMT Group Convenor John McDonnell MP. Many issues were discussed regarding problems the taxi trade faces in London including "clause 19" of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) Bill and the call for a public inquiry into Transport for London/Public Carriage Office.

The RMT London Taxi Branch has a voice in Parliament that is prepared to speak up for the hard working self employed taxi-cab driver and no doubt over the coming months and years the links that the RMT specialist transport union have built up over decades of representing transport workers across the UK will become invaluable in leading the London taxi trade out of its present state.

If you wish to contact the RMT London Taxi branch please email or maybe you wish to join online at .