Wednesday, 1 December 2010

December Branch meeting cancelled

Please be advised the Chadwick Centre have notified us they will be closed tonight due to the extreme weather conditions.This means tonights meeting is cancelled.
Details of next meeting will appear here in due course.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Worrying times...

In a recent article that appeared in the Guardian online on Wednesday the 24th November 2010 it is alleged that an east London mini-cab driver is in fact a part-time Taliban commander when he is in Afghanistan.

The RMT London taxi branch will be making representations and bringing this issue to the attention of the Mayor/TFL and all other relevant authorities.

Please do click on the link below to read the whole article at the Guardian online http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/24/the-taliban-troop-london-jihadists

RMT London taxi branch...

Friday, 12 November 2010

1st December 2010...

Please note that due to the recent civil disturbance on Weds the 10th of November 2010 the last branch meeting was cancelled at very short notice.

Every effort was made to contact as many members/activists and advise them of this late cancellation. Now for the good news and that is the next branch meeting will take place at the Chadwick Street Sports Centre on the 1st December 2010 at 6.45pm.

Please bring your membership card to gain access to the meeting.

Monday, 1 November 2010

A United Voice..?

With the long awaited consultation of private hire underway the London Taxi trade has the opportunity to speak with one voice and seek the closure of the sub/satellite mini-cab office.

Under a previous Mayor/administration a "safer travel at night" initiative was set up/introduced which placed mini-cab offices within bars/clubs and led to lines of illegal mini-cab ranks. How do we know these lines of mini-cabs are illegal? Well virtually none of them have bookings and the majority are "ranked" on the public highway with those in authority turning a blind eye.

TFL and the Met Police have failed the public, the London Taxi trade and to an extent private hire. Case/common law is on the side of the London Taxi trade and this case/common law will form a major part of the RMT London Taxi branch response to this consultation.

Those in authority hide behind the lack of funding/resources however we see no reason why parity exists with our licence fee, and if TFL/TPH need extra funding/resources to crack down on the illegal activities of parts of the mini-cab trade that funding should come directly from that trade and not the self employed London Taxi-cab driver.

If TFL/TPH can't deliver well it must surely be time to split this directorate in two and divest the PHV operation into a stand alone body that understands clearly its role and remit within TFL. PHV's/mini-cabs do not have the right to "ply for hire" and TFL need to clarify what they define/understand "plying for hire" to mean. TFL and PHV's/mini-cabs need to understand only Taxi-cabs have the right to "rank" and therefore "ply for hire" our trade is built upon this very right and to allow anything other than a Taxi-cab to ply for hire is effectively making all 24,000 of us redundant. The right to rank is earned by every single Taxi-cab driver and we expect the licensing authority to do the job we pay them to do and part of that job must include a duty of care towards our industry.

The RMT London Taxi branch seeks to split the TPH directorate in two, we note that the chairman of the LTDA recently stated this also. Whilst the authorities bundle us together the lines will blur even further and along with it our good name.

Let us hope the London Taxi trade can speak with one voice on this long overdue consultation.

Friday, 22 October 2010

You Really Couldn't Make This Up !

It seems that some it the taxi trade just don't get it...!

Yes the three trade orgs/union that go by the name of the UTG (United Trade Group) which consists of the LTDA (leaders) followed by Unite the union and the LCDC (followers) sit down and collectively agree to offer an age limit for YOUR taxi-cab of 15 years. Then spend column inches in their respective journals/rags begging the Mayor of London not to bring in a 10 year age limit even though they have accepted the principle of an age limit by offering one in the first place.

Ask yourself this does your trade org/union have regular meetings with you the membership ?

If so are you encouraged to attend and hold officers/officials to account for the decisions they make on your behalf ?

If the Mayor introduces an age limit will you be happy that the value of your taxi-cab will decrease ?

After all it appears that some of the people who agreed to the principle of an age limit now seem a little worried at the consequences of their actions.

It might be time for you to join an open democratic trade union that gives you a voice, a vote and excellent legal cover. Time to join the RMT online at www.rmt.org.uk and come along to our next branch meeting on the 10th of November 2010...

Friday, 15 October 2010

Taxi Engagement Policy...

At the beginning of the year John Mason the Director of Taxis and Private Hire agreed to meet with the RMT London taxi branch on a regular informal basis.

After the general election John Mason introduced a Taxi Engagement Policy and today we have responded to the Director of Taxis and Private Hire.

We look forward to TFL/TPH's response...

PS please note the RMT London taxi branch is included in all consultations affecting the taxi trade. We recently said NO to age limits and we await the result of this consultation.

Standard...Standard !

Even the London Evening Standard is concerned about London taxi trade and the possible age limit that may be proposed by the Mayor of London which could see thousands of taxi-cabs taken out of service.

The United Trade Group led by the LTDA and followed by Unite the union and the LCDC ALL agreed to accept the policy of age limits. THEY the UTG offered a 15 year age limit on your behalf now can any of you taxi-cab drivers tell me where they got this mandate from?

The RMT London taxi branch is saddened that fellow taxi-cab drivers have decided to sell the residual value of your taxi-cab without even thinking of the consequences. Yet in recent publications both the LTDA and the LCDC seem to contradict the very policy they have offered TFL and the Mayor which is an age limit on ALL taxi-cabs.

If you offer an age limit you accept the principle of an age limit. The LTDA/UNITE the union and the LCDC have let the self employed taxi-cab driver down. Let's hope the Mayor of London sees sense and backs the RMT London taxi branch call for natural wastage and a decent scrapage scheme.

Join the RMT online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ .

Friday, 8 October 2010

Boris Johnson Mayor of London...

The chair of the RMT London taxi branch contacted the Mayor of London regarding the very worrying and costly issue of age limits that only the RMT said NO to, we were pleased to receive a direct response from the Mayor of London.

No decision has been made yet regarding age limits and the Mayor assures us that all views and opinions will be taken account of. The issue of cheaper vehicle excise duty for euro 3 buses was raised and the Mayor intends to raise this issue with central government for the present "road tax scheme" acts has a disincentive to all taxi-cab drivers thinking of renewing their vehicles.

The Mayor also confirmed that TFL are looking into ways of mitigating the cost of newer vehicles for taxi-cab drivers. The last line of his letter though dispells the myth that the RMT London taxi branch isn't listened to or consulted and we quote "In the meantime, TFL assure me they will continue to include the RMT in relevant consultations and your members' views will always be carefully considered".

Monday, 4 October 2010

Eastbourne Terrace W2...
















The Crossrail project will keep Eastbourne Terrace closed for many months and more than likely years.

We have learnt on good authority that consultation took place regarding the re routing of the buses so the question we must ask of TFL and TPH if they can consult with residents and other stake holders why not with the London taxi trade?

The Taxi Engagement Policy created by the present director of Taxi and Private Hire isn't worth the paper it was written upon and the table these other trade orgs/union sit at is a mere foldaway type coupled with a talking shop which hasn't delivered any solutions to any of the major problems we face.

The London taxi trade needs the Bishops Bridge rank back in operation by the 2nd of January 2011 for we will need all the rank space we can get at the beginning of the year...

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Branch Meeting Wednesday 6.10.2010...
















With the shock news that the London taxi trade is to lose for an indefinate period of time the use of much of the Bishops Bridge feeder rank between the hours of 11pm to 5.30am (hours that affect us are actually 11pm to 1am) you would have thought matters could not get any worse.

Well shock horror to hear via a newspaper that the Secretary of State for Transport Phillip Hammond will be suspending the use of the M4 bus lane by coaches/taxis and motorbikes from the 24th of December 2010 at the latest. John Kennedy RMT London taxi branch Chairman led the concerns of London taxi cab drivers on PM/Radio 4 and other media outlets. Go to http://www.rmtranksandhighways.blogspot.com/ and click on the link.

The London taxi trade has experienced a very dark week and those within our trade who have laid claim to be sitting at the table must surely realise the table appears to have no legs and may have even collpased (maybe it's a fold away table). The whole of the London taxi trade was ignored by Westminster City Council, TFL and finally the Secretary of State for Transport. It is time for the ordinary hard working self employed London taxi-cab to join the only union able/prepared to stand up for your hard earned right to "ply for hire".

The RMT London will be deabting/discussing these issues and many more at our regular well attended branch meetings. Join the RMT online at www.rmt.org.uk

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Loss of Rank Space...

TFL/TPH have decided to remove rank space from our rank on Bishops Bridge W2 after TFL received complaints from residents living in Westbourne Terrace W2 regarding the noise from buses.

The TPH 27/10 notice makes clear that the loss of rank space will only take place between the hours of 11pm and 5.30am. It also makes clear the London Cab Ranks Committee were to put it bluntly "blanked" by TFL.

The RMT London Taxi Branch will be discussing/debating this matter at committee/branch next Mon/Weds respectively. We couldn't get a rank outside the Buddha Bar on Victoria Embankment and we lose rank space at a drop of a hat or should we say start of a bus engine on Westbourne Terrace. Let's hope this is a very short/temp measure and doesn't lead into the "kipper" season when every rank space is needed by every London taxi-cab driver!

Please note we will be doing a site survey of Westbourne Terrace because the last time I drove up or down the properties were set back from the road and each of the blocks have their own private road to enter/park cars etc.

Just a very quick thought on this issue couldn't TFL place these buses on the Harrow Road by the Westway and even use parts of North Wharf Road after the hours of 11pm and 5.30am?

Join the RMT London taxi branch online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Safer Travel At Night (STAN) ?

It is clear from the horrific news this week that sexual assaults within the unlicensed mini-cab trade is on the increase and it is clear that the Safer Travel At Night (STAN) message is not getting through to women under the influence of abnormal levels of alcohol.

Public Safety is paramount and the London taxi-cab is the bench mark and the beacon of safety for people travelling within the metropolis on a 24/7 basis. However a number of issues have conspired and these issues are putting people especially younger women at risk, we shall list some of the issues that need/require urgent attention;
  • The increased pedestrianisation which impedes the flow of traffic and chokes the supply of taxi-cabs with zone 1 and suburban town centres needs to be removed or we need to remove other non essential traffic from these areas.
  • Lack of taxi-cab ranks/stands outside bars/venues.
  • Incentives for taxi-cab drivers to work later/unsocial/abnormal hours on Friday/Saturday nights.
  • Better Policing by the Metropolitan and City of London Police Services.
  • We need many more Taxi stops similar to the one that exists on South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall.
  • The closure of all Satellite mini-cab offices which have merely become a "touts" charter that flout the very rules that define London's taxi-cabs.
  • Increased resources for TFL/Police which could easily be funded by increasing licence fees for PHV operators (remember it is their trade that is causing the problem).
It is clear that TFL/TPH are failing to deliver for the London taxi trade and it is clear that combining Taxis and Private hire creates more problems than this directorate is capable or able to solve. A major overhaul is required at all levels of this directorate with a view to splitting Taxis and Private hire and clearing defining the role of each trade so no confusion remains within the mini-cab trade.

Remember if you want a voice and a vote join the RMT online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Waiting for Boris...

London taxi-cab drivers are waiting for the decision by the Mayor of London and chair of TFL regarding the age limit of taxi-cabs.

The RMT stated clearly in its response to the consultation that we firmly believed no age limit was or is required. The Dep't for Transport agrees with this position has the average life span of a taxi-cab is 12 years.

The united trade group led by the LTDA and followed by Unite the union and LCDC offered an age limit of 15 years and in doing so accepted the principle of an age limit. Any limit will reduce the residual value of your taxi-cab and hurt the taxi trade at a time of recovery whilst we await the affects of the proposed cuts to be announced by the government.

The RMT London taxi branch believes issues of this importance should be subject to a ballot of all license holders. No one organisation or union commands a majority of drivers and therefore does not have the sole right to speak on behalf of the 22,000 plus taxi-cab drivers.

"One badge One Vote" is the answer and let the taxi-cab drivers decide their fate and not others sitting behind closed doors making the wrong decisions with no mandate from their own membership.

If the Mayor of London introduces a ten year age limit what good will it actually do other than reduce resale/residual values and force taxi-cab drivers to hang on to taxi-cabs for longer and maybe up to the maximum ten year period.

The UTG have proved yet again they are unable to speak on behalf of the hard working taxi-cab driver, it's time for you to join the RMT and its London taxi branch and have a real voice, a real vote at regularly held branch meetings.

The RMT London taxi branch will be emailing/contacting city hall/ the Mayor and asking once again that no age limit is introduced. Let natural wastage and a decent scrapage scheme assist the London taxi trade...

Join the RMT online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/

PS we mustn't forget that partitions are now starting to appear in a number of mini-cabs/phv's, we would like the trade to note that this issue was discussed at TFL board meetings and the surface transport panel where the general secretary of the LTDA sits has the TAXI trade representative.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Taxi Private Hire notice 22/10...

Taxi Private Hire Notice 22/10...

National Fraud Initiative
Important information for taxi-cab drivers...

We have just been reading the latest TPH notice 22/10 signed by the director of taxi private hire John Mason and we really do have a serious concern about our information being sent to a quango that is about to be scrapped.

Considering that the audit commission is to be culled it would probably be advisable for TFL/TPH not to send our details to that quango..?

The RMT London taxi branch will be emailing the Transport commissioner Peter Hendy advising him so, we would ask all trade orgs/unions to do the same. We look forward to the redrafting of TPH notice 22/10 if this is appropriate and any response from the TPH directorate. Please note the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles MP announced on the 13th August 2010 that the audit commission would be scrapped please click on link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-10970008 . The TPH notice is dated the 19th August 2010.

Before any transfer of data is to take place we need to be assured of who or what body will be taking over these responsibilities from the audit commission.

Join the specialist transport union at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ you get a voice, a vote and great representation but not an air freshener...

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Breaking News...

Iain Dale of LBC 97.3 fm presented/hosted a very interesting and lively debate of the two hopefuls who wish to gain the Labour Party nomination for the Mayor of London election to be held in May 2012.

Oona King former MP for Bethnal Green and Bow debated with Ken Livingstone the former Mayor of London live on a very well presented and informative show. Many commentators placed Oona King in the lead with a clear 2-1 victory on the night however the London taxi trade was shocked to hear former Mayor Ken Livingstone announce that if the signage was right (eg roof signs) he would allow mini-cabs into bus lanes.

It was certainly clear that even after two terms in office Ken Livingstone still doesn't understand that the job of the London taxi-cab driver is totally different to the job of a mini-cab driver. London taxi-cab drivers need to have access to the kerb and bus lanes for we pick up/set down 90% of our work from the kerbside and are metered. If mini-cabs were allowed access to bus lanes the cost of a taxi-cab would rise and the delay to buses across the capital would be unbearable.

Londoners will have to choose who should be Mayor in 2012 but for now Labour party members will choose between Oona King and Ken Livingstone. The spectre of Ken Livingstone once again falls over the taxi trade in London but this time he has a real fight on his hands just to gain the Labour nomination.

Oona King for Mayor, something tells me that's got a nice ring to it...

Friday, 6 August 2010

London taxi-cabs...

London Taxi-cab drivers simply the best...

  • Knowledgable
  • Well mannered
  • Clean and presentable
Yes London Taxi-cab drivers are simply the best in the world and all of us should be proud of the badge we gained, the way we trained and the excellent service we provide.

Click on the link http://bit.ly/bDwtEU to hear branch chair John Kennedy speaking to James Whale on LBC 97.3 fm regarding this great news about our trade. 

The RMT is a specialist transport union and the RMT is proud to have a branch of London Taxi-cab drivers...

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

TAXI/Partitions/Emissions or should that be Omissions...

It appears yet again that the once great trade paper called TAXI has yet again misled readers.

Re the chap on the knowledge, have to say what is the point in printing a picture of a man who has a serious medical condition?This is very worrying indeed and the editor and owners should certainly act more responsibly. All the trade is pleased our standards have risen and that proper checks on backgrounds are taking place, however TAXI again omits one very important fact about this story/case. The plain simple fact is it was the RMT London Taxi branch that exposed the management failings at the PCO and not the LTDA/LCDC or UNITE.

If you have any doubt remember that the story broke in the Evening Standard on the 2nd of September 2009 just click on this link and read the article http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23739197-wife-killer-gets-green-light-to-drive-black-cab.do . Now note the date of the article 02.09.2009, note the quote from George Vsye RMT London taxi branch committee member and note the RMT London Taxi branch demonstrated on the 04.09.2009 outside the PCO in Penton Street, N1.

Now if the United Trade Group (UTG) consisting of the LTDA, LCDC and the union UNITE were so on the ball and in control of this serious situation why didn't they get the story to the media on or before 02.09.2009. If the RMT was outside the doors of Penton Street on the 04.09.2009 why did these trade orgs wait until the 10.09.2009?

Time for the Editor and owners of TAXI newspaper to wake up and get stories right along with time lines.

Please note the RMT London Taxi branch has not communicated with the GMB union.We would also like to point out that the General Secretary of the LTDA, Bob Oddy , sits on the board of Transport for London and the surface transport panel sub-committee. We look forward to reading all the minutes of these meetings and we shall be seeking evidence of Bob Oddy's objections to partitions in mini-cabs/phv's. Let us all hope that the trades representative has been keeping to his many statements in TAXI newspaper and speaking up for the taxi-cab driver in the determined fashion that he is well known for.

The London Taxi-cab driver should note that the UTG and others have offered the present Mayor/TFL a 15 year age limit on Taxi-cabs within London. This is a very worrying decision and certainly one that Taxi-cab drivers have not been consulted on. Yet again the Taxi-cab driver is sold down the river, for if we accept an age limit we accept the principle and we can rest assured that this figure which is way off the 10 years Boris seeks will be whittled down to 12 at best.

The RMT London Taxi branch position is very clear , we do not believe in any age limit and firmly believe that natural wastage will deal with older Taxi-cabs. The Department of Transport doesn't believe in age limits, they too believe in natural wastage and let us all remember it is TFL/Peter Hendy Transport Commissioner and his staff that decide what Taxi-cab we can drive and any NO2 particulates from our tail pipes is the fault of TFL and TFL alone. They have the power to demand cleaner and better engines from the people that build Taxi-cabs for the London market.

Maybe it's time for Peter Hendy to get on his bike...

Time to join the only union prepared to stand up for Taxi-cab drivers, it's time to join the RMT online at www.rmt.org.uk

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Taxi Engagement Policy, the Big Society, Minutes of Meetings...

The RMT London Taxi branch will shortly be responding formally to the recent Taxi Engagement Policy created by the Taxi Private Hire Directorate formerly known as the Public Carriage Office (PCO).

The RMT is a bona-fide trade union and we comply with all relevant trade union legislation.Our response will be of a formal/robust nature and members can be assured that we shall be informing the present director and reminding him of the very first meeting we had with him in January 2010 when he informed us of the bad communications the trade had experienced with the last head of the PCO.

We shall be sending our response to all members of the London Assembly/London MP's/Mayor and board members of Transport for London and after consideration of recent announcements by the Rt Hon David Cameron Prime Minister we think it is only fair to point out to him that we merely wish to play a part in our society, our trade and our community/jobs.

If the PM wants the "Big Society" to work isn't it time for TFL/TPH to engage with a bona fide trade union that represents decent hard working taxi-cab drivers.

The RMT complies with the law and the RMT London Taxi branch isn't going away, we merely seek the opportunity to represent our members and ask for transparency and fairness to play a major role within the Taxi Private Hire Directorate...of Transport for London.

We will be asking the Mayor and Transport Commissioner for the minutes of these regular meetings that are held with the organisations that form the "United Trade Group". These groups do not represent the majority of taxi-cab drivers but it is "all taxi-cab drivers" that pay the wages of staff at the TPH directorate. The Taxi trade is badly led and suffers from lax/lazy representation and it is time for the minutes of meetings that have a direct effect on your livelihood to be published in the interests of transparency and fairness.

If TFL can publish minutes of board meetings/sub committees why can't the TPH Directorate...?

Join the RMT online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/

Friday, 2 July 2010

Your Freedom...

Your Freedom matters according to the coalition Government so here at the RMT London taxi branch we thought we would ask the new Government something that is pretty reasonable and something that affects all taxi-cab drivers throughout the United Kingdom.

On behalf of all taxi-cab drivers (especially those in London) we ask that HM Government look once again at all parts of the Road Traffic Act(s) and apply the law in a fair manner and way.

Please do click on the link below and support this initiative...

http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/cutting-business-and-third-sector-regulations/road-traffic-act-s/idea-view

Remember if you don't ask you'll never get anything from any Government and after reading the Stamp report of 1970 it appears we haven't asked for much and therefore we've got very little...

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

TAXI Newspaper...very odd.

In the latest edition of TAXI newspaper along with the usual knocks aimed at the RMT London taxi branch a very odd article appears which alleges to inform the trade and readers of PCO policy towards the RMT London taxi branch. This article raises very serious questions about the quality/accuracy of articles that appear in TAXI and where they source their information.

Let me make it very clear the RMT London taxi branch have not responded formally to the Director of Taxi and Private Hire regarding his Taxi Engagement Policy and therefore we find it really odd that the editor of TAXI newspaper and the owners of the publication appear to mislead self employed taxi-cab drivers yet again.

John Kennedy Chair RMT London taxi branch.

PS London's taxi-cab drivers should be rightly concerned at this development. Members of the RMT London taxi branch will be discussing the Taxi Engagement Policy at our next meeting on the 14th of July 2010.

Bob Oddy, John Thomas, Barry Hooper and Richard Masset really do need to get behind the wheel of a London taxi-cab and experience the fact that this trade needs a safe secure rail network delivering passengers to the many taxi ranks across London. I shouldn't have to remind the officers of the LTDA that they run a taxi sharing scheme at Paddington where trains bring thousands of jobs to taxi drivers on a daily/nightly basis.

A Safe rail network is in the interests of ALL London taxi drivers, shame the executive of the LTDA don't seem to understand this.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

NO to Age Limits on Taxi-Cabs...

Members of the RMT London taxi branch attended a meeting at the Department of Transport last Monday and had it confirmed that the DoT do not have a policy for age limits for Taxis. In fact they believe a well maintained fleet of taxis is the the right way to deal with emissions issues along with the development of new technologies that will allow the London taxi to carry up to 6/7 passengers with luggage and maybe one in a wheelchair.

We must therefore ask why is the Mayor and Transport for London not adopting this sensible policy from the Department of Transport? We all understand and know of the emissions issue here in the capital but we must remind the Mayor that the present Transport commissioner Peter Hendy and the director of surface transport David Brown have both been in post for a reasonable number of years and surely they should have been examining ways of ensuring that the makers of taxi-cabs develop cleaner/greener taxi-cabs slightly quicker than they are at present.

Our policy and position is simple at the RMT London taxi branch we oppose the introduction of any age limit to London taxis.If a taxi passes its annual rigorous test then that taxi is fit to be on the road. Natural wastage will deal with older vehicles and this was confirmed at the Department of Transport last week where a senior civil servant confirmed you see very few taxis over the 12 year age limit on the roads of the capital.

Time for the Mayor to see sense and realise that the London taxi-cab driver needs open free roads to operate within the capital and the policies of Westminster and other councils just creates congestion and therefore pollution.

Time for TFL to wake up and introduce a sensible road policy...

Join the RMT London taxi branch and get a voice and a vote but not an air freshener, join online at www.rmt.org.uk

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Bill is Back...

















The bill is back and we are awaiting the date for a 3rd reading in the House of Lords.

Now whatever you have read or you are told by so called "trade leaders" and the "disunited trade group" ask yourself this, if they are so concerned about your right to "ply for hire" and so concerned about public safety why are they not joining the RMT and opposing "clause 19" of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) Bill ?

If this Bill with clause 19 becomes law you and I will be ranking next to pedicabs and rickshaws throughout the West End and then other London boroughs. We must remember we were told by the same people in authority that the licensing of mini-cabs would bring an end to touting well just look at how useless the authorities have been in tackling that problem.

The voluntary registration scheme is a fudge designed to get those in authority off the hook and allow them to deliver a daft compromise that will damage our trade further. Westminster City Council and Transport for London have been given more than one opportunity to discuss clause 19 of this Bill yet they ignore a simple request for talks/discussions.

Other trade groups namely the LTDA the "leaders" of the united trade group produce great videos, great ads but when it comes to the crunch they just don't cut the mustard and fail the trade by allowing this Bill passage with no opposition. If you seek to BAN pedicabs you don't support a Bill that will give the 3rd World Transport Brigade "RANKS" on the public highway.

The RMT London taxi branch urge all trade bodies/groups to oppose "clause 19" and protect the job and livelihood of the self employed London taxi-cab driver.

Join the only trade union/organisation that seeks to BAN 3rd world dangerous transport from the public highway, join the RMT...

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Legal Matters...

The RMT specialist transport union has a legal department second to none and if you are a member of the RMT London taxi branch you will receive legal cover that beats the best in the business...

RMT Union membership gives you many more benefits with Thompsons Solicitors ranging from ;
  • Free advice on personal injury (away from work) including road traffic accident injuries
  • Free advice on industrial diseases
  • Free advice on non work issues
  • Free Wills
  • Reduced rates for conveyancing
  • Special terms for clinical negligence
  • Holiday injury advice
  • Free personal injury legal services for member's family
For full details contact RMT Legal Services 0800 587 7516 oh and have your membership number handy...

Limited and exclusions and terms and conditions apply.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Taxi Engagement Policy plus...

What a week this has been when Taxi-cab drivers decided to take direct action themselves over problems they encounter on a regular nightly basis.

You should "all" note the LCDC called for a demonstration the RMT London taxi branch emailed the LCDC and offered support.We are still awaiting a reply. We believe that TFL and Taxi Private Hire (TPH great name by the way, nice to see what our licence fee gets spent on) need to engage with all trade orgs and unions within  the trade and not discriminate.

Mr John Mason has produced a "Taxi Engagement Policy" (TEP) which seeks to inspect our records but not the records of the LTDA, LCDC and the union UNITE. Why would Mr John Mason and TFL seek to inspect the records of the RMT and its London Taxi branch but not seek to inspect the records of the LTDA, LCDC and the union UNITE ?

Does TFL and the division known as TPH wish to discriminate ? This is a question we shall be asking of the Mayor, members of the London Assembly, Members of Parliament and the House of Lords.

If TFL and TPH would like a right of reply please do email Londontaxi@rmt.org.uk I'm sure we will give it due consideration...

PS Please note we have a copy of a letter sent to Caroline Pidgeon AM Chair of the Transport Committee on the London Assembly stating clearly that Mr J Mason Director of TPH agreed to meet with the RMT London Taxi branch on a regular informal basis. It seems that Mr J Mason has forgotten what he actually agreed to or was this just another oversight...

We are prepared to meet with TFL/TPH on a formal/informal basis to discuss serious issues that affect you the working self employed taxi-cab driver...

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Clock is Ticking...


The clock is well and truly ticking for the London Taxi trade and its drivers. We at the RMT specialist transport union wish to challenge the perception that you can't effect change and you can't do anything other than moan about the plight you find yourselves in.

The RMT is a campaigning union and when you enter a campaign you do so knowing that it will take time and you may even lose the odd battle along the way.

We though at the RMT set aims and objectives that we can achieve within a reasonable time frame and then we move on and forward always remembering that our sole intention is to improve your working conditions which in turn will improve the service you supply to your customers.

We have a number of new blog sites which are dedicated to the many campaigns we are about to launch which aim to defend your rights as a self employed London Taxi-cab driver. Let us be honest the time for sitting back and hoping that everything will be OK is over. The RMT specialist transport union is here and here to stay and we shall achieve and meet our goals because we have a membership base that is committed to the cause of securing our collective future.

Please do click on the links www.rmtnoto19.blogspot.com and www.rmtsts.blogspot.com you should note both blog sites are here to keep you up to date with RMT London taxi branch campaigns.

Join the only union prepared to stand up for you and your rights join the RMT online at www.rmt.org.uk

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Rickshaws, Pedicabs....what price safety...

The RMT London taxi branch would like to see a broad coalition of trade unions/bodies and organisations oppose clause 19 contained in the LLA & TFL (no.2) Bill.

We have made enquiries with the Lothian and Borders Police Force after the recent death of a young male who fell from a Rickshaw/Pedicab. This matter is now in the hands of the Procurator Fiscals Office (the Courts) with the view to a Fatal Accident Enquiry. This is now with the Courts north of the border and therefore sub judice.

The RMT London taxi branch believes it is time for Government, the Mayor and London Borough's to put safety first. The rickshaw/pedicab has no role to play in a modern 1st world transport network and we urge all trade associations/unions to join the RMT London taxi branch in its opposition to clause 19 of the LLA & TFL (no.2) Bill.
  1. NO to Pedicab/Rickshaw ranks or bays.
  2. NO to the Voluntary Registration Scheme.
  3. NO to 3rd world Transport given 1st world status.
We ask those in authority;
  1. Where do you place the Wheelchair ?
  2. Where do you place the assistance dog ?
  3. When did TFL and any of the London Borough's crash test these objects ?
Please log onto www.rmtnoto19.blogspot.com and join the campaign to make the streets and roads of London safer...

You don't just get a Voice and Vote at the RMT, you get the chance to make a difference to the environment you work in. Join the RMT at www.rmt.org.uk and JUST SAY NO TO 19 !

Sunday, 16 May 2010

RMT the campaigning union.


The RMT is a campaigning union and in the finest traditions of the union the newly formed London taxi branch have launched a number of campaigns regarding issues that affect our membership and you the London taxi-cab driver.

With a new parliament and coalition government we must be ready to petition against the "London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) Bill" remember clause 19 wishes to place pedicab ranks/bays on the public highway. We are pleased to see that the LCDC have indicated yet again their opposition to the bill and clause 19 but concerned other members of the United Trade Group seem to be of the opinion that giving pedicabs a "voluntary registration scheme" coupled with "ranks/bays" will bring us closer to a BAN ?

The RMT London taxi branch have led the way regarding this issue and used successfully our parliamentary team led by John McDonnell MP for Hayes and Harlington. We shall continue to campaign to ban these objects from the public highway, only recently in Scotland a young man died after a fall from a pedicab/rickshaw. Third world transport has no part to play in a first world road network the time has come to ban and therefore we at the RMT London taxi branch have set up a dedicated blogsite to keep you up to date with the latest news and information regarding these dangerous objects.

www.rmtnoto19.blogspot.com is presently under construction and this site will keep you all informed of issues relating to this campaign, so if you want to defeat the menace of the pedicab/rickshaw why not join the only union prepared to stand up for your rights. Join the RMT and its London taxi branch at www.rmt.org.uk .

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Branch Meeting...

Members of the RMT London taxi branch are reminded that we have a branch meeting on the 13th of May 2010 at the Chadwick street sports centre, Chadwick Street SW1, just behind Channel 4 building.

The London taxi trade is at a crossroads and we have serious issues and problems to solve. The most pressing problem at this moment in time is the concept/idea of the "Satellite Mini-Cab Office" an idea created under the Mayoralty of Ken Livingstone and implemented by TFL and the division know has the Public Carriage Office.

Satellite Offices have become a touts charter with "clipboard operators" touting on the public highway and PHV's "ranking" and "parking" illegally all over the capital. The time has come for the London taxi trade to unite to deal with this serious threat to our collective right to "ply for hire".

The new committee look forward to meeting you all and please remember to bring your membership card to gain admission.

John Kennedy, Chairman RMT London taxi branch.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Satellite Mini-Cab Offices...a clear present danger.


The Satellite mini-cab office is a very clear present danger to the London taxi trade and driver.

Under the banner "Safer Travel at Night" mini-cab offices were encouraged to set up within bars and clubs and then granted "satellite mini-cab" office status.

The previous administration at City Hall appears to have side stepped the London taxi-cab driver and gone straight to private hire to seek a solution to a problem that has been created by lax lazy enforcement and bad town planning by all those in authority.

The RMT London Taxi Branch will be discussing a strategy at its next branch meeting that aims to bring about the closure of all of these offices. This will not be easy and it will take time and a super human effort by all involved and it will certainly be more than a drive in or a demonstration.

Demonstrations, drive-in's, pickets will form part of this strategy but along with the noise and disruption that these can bring we must be prepared for the hard work behind the scences that may include and lead up to court action. Our "collective" right to "ply for hire" is under threat like never before and with the economy looking fragile we shall not see an end to this downturn in fact we may be entering a decade of austerity.

Legitimate taxi-cab work is walking out the door of bars and clubs and we are denied the right to rank, yet private hire can set up a satelite mini-cab office, rank and park illegally with no fear from those in authority.

It's time to knock out satellite mini-cab offices and it's time for you to join the RMT London taxi branch...

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Mini-Cab Motor Bikes TFL Consultation Result Pending...

After communication this week with the Director of Taxi Private Hire John Mason, the RMT London Taxi Branch can reveal that the TFL will shortly be reporting on the consultation regarding Mini-Cab Motorbikes.

You should note that the picture above clearly shows a mini-cab motorbike with the word "Taxy" clearly marked upon it. The RMT London Taxi Branch have sent a formal complaint to the Director of Taxis and Private Hire regarding the misuse of the word "Taxy". It does seem that many Private hire operators wish to create confusion with members of the public and "wind up" London taxi-cab drivers at the same time.

You should all note that these mini-cab motorbikes operate under temporary mini-cab/private hire licenses, so we must ask what action will be taken against the operator of this mini-cab motorbike ?

The time has come for the Licensing authourity "TFL/PCO" to take action against Private hire operators who break the law. We though at the RMT must pose the question "are large private hire operators above the law" ? In recent months/years we have had one operator remove wiper blades from vehicles, instruct its drivers to break the law by driving down the M4 bus lane and misuse the word TAXI or a word which sounds the same eg "TAXY".

TFL/PCO owe the London Taxi trade a duty of care and this includes the name that describes us and the service we offer, time for TFL and the division know has the PCO to get its act together.

Can we thank the Caretaker and the Editor of the blogsite http://www.theandersonshelter.blogspot.com/ for their permission in using the above image.

Friday, 30 April 2010

New Blog for RMT Heathrow Taxis...

With many issues to be dealt with at London Heathrow Airport the RMT London Taxi Branch is working towards setting up its own dedicated branch for those London Taxi-Cab drivers who are members and cabtag holders.

Please do clink on the link on the side bar or go to http://www.rmtheathrow.blogspot.com/ and keep upto date with matters affecting you and your colleagues at the world's busiest airport.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Heathrow Airport...

Click on the link http://www.heathrowairport.com/ then click on the link TAXIS this leads you to a page that describes the service we offer at the airport but it also includes Addison Lee and Chauffeur car service.

Neither of these services are TAXIS and therefore should not be placed under that link. We have today contacted BAA goverment relations department along with TFL/PCO and requested that this link be amended. The two services on offer are mini-cab/private hire and they should be under a banner that reflects what type of service they offer.

With private hire vehicles still flouting the law regarding the M4 bus lane you can be assured that the meeting we are to hold with the Dep't of Transport on 26th May 2010 will be robust to say the least. The London taxi trade is under threat like never before and we must all wake up and secure our collective rights to ply for hire and use of all bus lanes within the capital

Private Hire/Mini-cabs are just that a booked car service and the abuse/misuse of our name must be brought to an end once and for all. Join the only trade union/organisation prepared to stand up for you the self employed London taxi-cab driver.

Join online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ or request an application form at Londontaxi@rmt.org.uk

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The General Secretary Sets The Record Straight...

Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT , sets the record straight for London Taxi-cab drivers.

You may well be reading this article here on the RMT London Taxi Branch blog or you may well have read the letter to all London Taxi-cab drivers from Bob Crow which states clearly the RMT position with regards to self employed London Taxi-cab drivers.

Some TAXI trade publications have decided for whatever reason to attack the RMT and its London Taxi Branch in recent weeks and months with mistruths and disinformation.

We list below the main points of the letter and look forward to working even harder to protect the rights of the self employed London Taxi-cab driver;
  1. The RMT has no intention of seeking to control hours of London Taxi Drivers.
  2. The RMT has no policy of introducing tachographs into London Taxis.
  3. The RMT does not admit mini-cab drivers into membership of the union.
  4. The RMT has no official dialogue with the GMB Union in respect of Taxi matters.
  5. The RMT does not support satellite mini-cab offices.
  6. The RMT has no interest in matters concerning other trade organisation membership numbers.
Anything said in contradiction to the above is untrue.

The points listed above are taken from the letter delivered today to thousands of London taxi-cab drivers.

The RMT London Taxi Branch gives you the London Taxi-cab driver a Voice and a Vote, we have more members attending branch meetings than others can muster for an AGM. We welcome debate and always decide policy in a fair and respectful manner.

Our trade is under threat like never before with illegal ranks of mini-cabs standing outside TFL/PCO approved satellite mini-cab offices. Westminster City Council/TFL attempting to introduce legislation to appoint bays/ranks on the public highway for pedicabs/rickshaws. A complete failure of enforcement of a private hire trade growing out of control and we in the London Taxi trade get £10.00 knocked off the cost of a Taxi plate.

The London Taxi trade is in serious trouble and the RMT specialist transport union has the reach, influence and skill set to deal with the many serious issues affecting you and your trade. Join the only trade union/organisation that will give you a Voice and a Vote but not an air freshener. Sign up online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ or request an application form by email from Londontaxi@rmt.org.uk or email the branch chair at johnkennedy@rmtmail.org.uk .

RMT "Never on our Knees"...

Monday, 26 April 2010

Thursday 13th May 2010 at 6.45pm...

The next Branch meeting of the RMT London Taxi Branch will be on Thursday the 13th May 2010 at 6.45pm. Remember we have more members attending branch meetings than the rest can muster for an AGM.

If you want a Voice and a Vote join the RMT London Taxi Branch at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ or request an application form by emailing us at Londontaxi@rmt.org.uk .....oh and watch this space for some very interesting news coming soon...

John Kennedy Chairman, RMT London Taxi Branch.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Eagles Are Landing...

The London Taxi Trade tonight is breathing a collective sigh of relief and hoping that the latest advice from the Civil Aviation Authority allowing UK airspace to open once again will bring about an end to the recent shut down of nearly all UK airports due to the volcanic activity in Iceland.

Let us all hope that the many stranded passengers throughout Europe and across the globe can now start to begin to return home. These times have tested the patience of many but proved once again that the London taxi trade does its best to weather the storms that are thrown at it on a near weekly if not daily basis.

The RMT London Branch will be debating this crisis and seeking solutions to the problems we have all faced. It is clear that the ranking facilities at St Pancras International and King's Cross are unable to cope with a crisis.
  1. This therefore begs the question how will London cope at the 2012 Olympic Games ?
  2. Does London need a civil contingency plan to deal/cope with future Transport failures ?
  3. Does the London taxi trade require temporary taxi ranks/stands and a licensing authority able to react quickly to events that affect us all ?
The RMT London Taxi Branch would like to thank all taxi-cab drivers for once again dealing with a crisis and taking the hit in a calm manner and way. The self employed London taxi-cab is and will always be an asset to this great city called London.

If you wish to join the only trade union that gives you a voice and a vote please do join online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ or request an application by emailing the branch at londontaxi@rmt.org.uk .

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

RMT Calls for Extra Rank Space...

The RMT London Taxi Branch has contacted the Dep't of Transport and requested emergency rank space be made available to the trade due to the ongoing problems with UK airspace which has effectively closed Heathrow and City Airports.

With airports closed the trade has seen an extra 1500 to 1800 taxi-cab drivers seeking work elsewhere and a vast reduction in business travellers. The London Taxi-cab driver needs extra ranking facilities and the set down bays at St Pancras International to be kept clear of illegally parked vehicles.

Extra rank space is required across the capital to assist and help the taxi trade with the serious downturn in work. Let us all hope that this crisis is of a temporary nature and that all those stranded at home or abroad return safely as soon as possible.

Friday, 16 April 2010

A Voice and a Vote at the RMT London Taxi Branch AGM.

On Monday the 12th of April 2010 the RMT London Taxi Branch held its very first AGM and what a well attended meeting this was.

Eddie Lambert the outgoing Chairman and David Vidgen the Branch Secretary were thanked personally for setting up this new branch of the RMT Specialist Transport Union. The meeting/AGM was both informative and good humoured and the branch would like to thank Brian Whitehead Regional Organiser for his attendance.

With Eddie Lambert stepping down John Kennedy accepted the nomination for the role of Chairman of the RMT London Taxi Branch, we are pleased to inform you that John accepted the nomination. Stan Marut who has done an excellent job defending the individual rights of Taxi-cab drivers at Court and/or TFL/PCO accepted the nomination for the role of Branch Secretary.

The RMT London Taxi Branch is open to all Taxi-cab drivers within the Metropolitan Police District whether your badge is green or yellow and we shall over the coming weeks, months and years be increasing our membership base across Greater London with a focus on Taxi-cab drivers who are in no trade union or organisation.

If you wish to contact John Kennedy direct please do so via email at johnkennedy@rmtmail.org.uk if you seek an application form from the branch please request one via the branch email account at londontaxi@rmt.org.uk or you can text a request to Stan Marut the Branch Secretary on 07899 786 433. Alternatively join online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ . Remember you are protected the moment you sign but most importantly you get a voice and a vote here at the RMT Specialist Transport Union.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Pedicab Bill Fails...

Mark Field Conservative Parliamentary candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster presented a private members bill before Parliament aimed at regulating pedicabs/rickshaws. This private members bill failed and in light of the recent tragic news in Scotland we would urge all prospective Parliamentary candidates across the country to get a grip and deal with this dangerous and unsafe mode of 3rd world transport and join the RMT London Taxi Branch call to ban these objects from the public highway.

If you want to get the West End of London moving and help to remove the gridlock whilst improving road safety within the capital join the RMT London Taxi Branch and campaign to ban pedicabs/rickshaws from the public highway.

Join the RMT London Taxi Branch online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ or request an application form by calling/texting the branch secretary on the number above.

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

It is expected that the promoters of this bill will ask each House to agree to motions reviving this bill when a new Parliament is formed. Members and colleagues should note you cannot carry a bill over from one Parliament to another however if both Houses agree the bill could be revived and formally taken through all stages it had passed through so far. We would then have to wait for the date of a 3rd reading in the Lords which would then trigger a period where we could petition and formally oppose the bill in the house of commons.

The RMT London Taxi Branch will object to this bill being revived based upon the simple fact that the majority of taxi-cab drivers were not consulted by Transport for London and Westminster City Council. We do understand that Transport for London did attempt to consult with many taxi-cab driver organisations but it appears none of these responded to the invite. The RMT London Taxi Branch wasn't formed at this particular time and we would have certainly responded to the consultation process that included the possible formation of pedicab/rickshaw ranks/bays within the capital.

A man died recently from an alledged fall from a pedicab/rickshaw in Scotland. The RMT London Taxi branch believes that pedicabs/rickshaws are a 3rd world method/mode of transport, these objects offer no protection from impact nor are they able to cater for passengers with a disability, assistance dog or a wheelchair.

If you seek a ban of pedicabs/rickshaws from the public highway join the only trade union/organisation that is prepared to do the work and campaign for this to happen. Join the RMT London Taxi Branch online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ or contact the branch secretary via text or mobile and request an application form.

You get a Voice and a Vote at the RMT not an air freshener !

Sunday, 11 April 2010

RMT London Taxi Branch AGM.

The London Taxi Branch of the specialist Transport Union RMT is to hold its AGM on the 12th April 2010. It really has been a amazing year for the RMT London Taxi Branch which started from nothing and woke a trade up that was falling to sleep at the wheel with little or no progress made on many serious issues affecting all within the London Taxi trade.

  1. RMT wakes the trade up on the 5th of Feb 2009 with the raising of the banner at the Trafalgar Square Demonstration.
  2. RMT London Taxi Branch wakes the trade up with increasing membership numbers.
  3. RMT London Taxi Branch oppose Chancery Lane road closure plans (only trade union/organisation to do so).
  4. RMT London Taxi Branch oppose "clause 19" of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) bill (only trade union/organisation to do so).
  5. RMT London Taxi Branch hear of the falling/lowering of standards at TFL/PCO. RMT committee members swing into action in early September the story breaks in the media via Andrew Gilligan and the Evening Standard.
  6. RMT London Taxi Branch seal victory over the standards on the knowledge.
  7. RMT London Taxi Branch rattle the cages of other trade bodies and ask awkward questions over satellite mini-cab offices, who knew and who agreed or allowed the greatest threat to our right to ply for hire to go ahead ?
  8. The RMT London Taxi Branch comes under sustained attack via a certain publication within the London Taxi trade, shame this publication doesn't spend has much time and effort dealing with the real problems we face.
  9. RMT London Taxi branch meet with members of the London Assembly, MP's, John Mason director of Taxis and Private Hire and even Martin Low.
  10. Throught out the last year the RMT London Taxi Branch have held many peaceful and fun demonstrations with a certain member turning up with a bass drum rumours have it he now has a rather large musical instrument, we look forward to the next demonstration.
  11. The RMT London Taxi Branch meets on a regular basis with the director of Taxis and Private hire and we are included in all consultations with TFL/PCO that affects our members.
The RMT London Taxi Branch looks forward to the year ahead, if you seek a voice and a vote but not an air freshener please do join the RMT at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ or request an application from branch secretary via text or post.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Soldier dies after fall from Pedicab/Rickshaw.

Lothian and Border Police Force in Scotland are investigating the death of a 26 year old man who is reported to have fallen from a pedicab/rickshaw.

Acccording to bbc Scotland the 26 year old man was out celebrating his birthday when he fell from the pedicab/rickshaw and hit his head upon the ground.

Our thoughts and prays at this sad moment in time are with the family of Christopher O'Kane who was a serving soldier with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Christopher was on leave and had served both in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is such a tragic incident and we shall be contacting the Lothian and Borders Police Force seeking details of this sad tragic incident.

http://www.rmt.org.uk/

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Breaking News.....

Ex Mayor of London Ken Livingstone on his Saturday morning radio show on LBC 97.3fm thinks the RMT London taxi branch idea of converting loading bays into night time taxi-cab ranks/stands is a good idea. In a conversation with the vice chair John Kennedy the ex mayor was interested in the idea muted by the RMT ranks & highways committee member Paul White.

Members of the RMT London taxi branch should note the ex Mayor of London also stated in the week that he was of the opinion that the rickshaws should be banned. The greatest shame with this statement is that when he was Mayor he didn't actually do this.

Please note the picture attached to this article is of two pedicabs removed from the public highway recently by the Metropolitan Police and Westminster City Council. The RMT London taxi branch is the only trade union seeking to ban pedicabs and rickshaws from the public highway.

Happy Easter to all members of the RMT London taxi branch and the wider trade, let us all look forward to spring with renewed confidence that a truly democratic trade union is now established within the London taxi trade.

You get a voice and a vote at the RMT not an air freshener...

Friday, 26 March 2010

John Mason Director of Taxis and Private Hire meets the RMT...(again).

On Tuesday the 16th March 2010 John Mason the new director of Taxis and Private hire met with representatives of the RMT London Taxi Branch at Portcullis House SW1.

John McDonnell MP for Hayes and Harlington, James Croy Political Officer RMT along with researchers plus David Vidgen Branch Secretary, Stan Marut complaints and compliance and finally John Kennedy vice chair attended honest open frank discussions with John Mason.

Many issues were raised with John Mason ranging from the M4 Bus lane fiasco, Richmond taxi rank, intimidation of taxi-cab drivers at Heathrow, Satellite mini-cab offices, illegal ranks of private hire vehicles outside venues and plenty of other issues were discussed too. John McDonnell MP certainly stood up for members of the RMT London taxi branch and he laid out a clear path for the RMT to be included in open honest formal discussions with TFL/PCO. The meeting was constructive and forthright which allowed for open honest opinions to be exchanged.

The RMT London Taxi Branch would like to thank John Mason for attending a meeting in the wonderful setting of the parliamentary estate and we certainly look forward to working with the new director so we can solve the many problems that have built up over decades within the London Taxi trade.

Please note a full report will be given to members of the RMT at the next branch meeting to be held on the 12th April 2010.

Remember if you want a voice and vote and not an air freshener join the RMT specialist transport union online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Martin Low of Westminster City Council Agrees to Meet.

On the 17th of March 2010 the RMT London Taxi branch protested outside the offices of Westminster City Council in Victoria Street SW1 over the ongoing problems faced by Taxi-cab drivers within the City of Westminster. With the now legendary bright red banner and the RMT horns blowing loudly and, might I add, three members of the RMT Council of Executives in attendance the protest begun promptly at 2.00 pm. The protest was good humoured with plenty of local people showing interest and support. But much to the surprise of all present Martin Lo, head of transportation at Westminster City Council, came out of the building and spoke with John Kennedy, vice chair of the Taxi branch, and fellow RMT London taxi branch activists.

Martin Low was robust and polite.He explained he spoke with other friendly societies and the trade union Unite, members of the Taxi branch explained they were night drivers and knew first hand the problems faced by working Taxi-cab drivers. John Kennedy raised many issues but importantly mentioned the failure of other trade organisations to take part in the consultation regarding the bill before Parliament that wishes to voluntarily register "Pedicabs".

The failure of others to respond to consultations is one of the many reasons that the RMT London Taxi branch was formed. This issue demonstrates how problems occur when those charged with looking out for our future fail to get involved and deal with a very important issue at an early stage. If other trade bodies had got involved at the beginning the trade could have helped to shape the legislation and maybe we the RMT wouldn't be objecting to the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) Bill.

At 2.33 pm Martin Low agreed to meet with the Vice Chair John Kennedy.An immediate decision was then taken to call off the good humoured demonstration as a gesture of goodwill towards Martin Low and Westminster City Council. LBC 97.3 FM called the Vice Chair who informed the media of the good news that Martin had agreed to meet with the RMT.

Can I thank all the Taxi-cab drivers who turned up yesterday and may we the RMT London Taxi branch thank Martin Low, Head of Transportation, for coming out to talk with us and agreeing to meet soon. A big thank you also to the three members of the Executive Council of the RMT for supporting the plight of RMT London Taxi-cab drivers; Craig Johnston , Owen Herbert and Pete March thank you.

A special mention must go to the organising skills of Mick Tinnion, committee member, and Dizzy for fantastic banners/placards. Once again all members present would like to thank Martin Low for speaking to us directly and agreeing to meet the Vice Chair John Kennedy.

PS Mick love that drum, just fantastic...!


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Breaking News....

From Friday the 12th March 2010 http://www.taximarshalls.com/ run by Tony Ellis will be at the Haymarket outside Tiger Tiger between the hours of 10.00 pm to 3.00 am every Friday and Saturday.

Here at the RMT London branch we would like to ask all London taxi-cab drivers to support and service this operation/venue and ensure that we keep the touts at bay.

May we take this opportunity to thank John Mason head of  Taxi and Private hire for approving this important change to marshalling within central London.

Be Lucky...

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Warning CCTV back on in Westminster.

Westminster City Council has reactivated its network of parking and traffic enforcement cameras. Therefore it is imperative that you the self employed working Taxi-cab driver understands this, and secondly knows your right of appeal to any ticket issued to you whether by hand or CCTV.

If you believe you have reasonable cause to appeal a ticket then do so immediately.The minute you receive an unjust fine from any borough council or TFL appeal in writing quoting the ticket no. Keep original copies of all evidence you have gathered and if possible take photographic evidence of where you are parked (it seems a camera is an important tool that all Taxi-cab drivers need today) if this is possible.

You should receive a reply from the borough council/TFL informing you if the ticket was issued in error or by mistake or if you are to receive the Notice to Owner. Now if you rent a Taxi-cab your garage may have asked you to sign a contract which will allow the owner of a Taxi-cab to pass on liability to you as the driver. After a certain amount of time you'll receive Notice to Owner and then you can formally appeal the ticket from the borough or TFL. You normally have 28 days to respond to this notice, failing to do so may lead to further demands and enforcement action. If you respond in writing to said authority and they deny your appeal all is not lost you may appeal to the Parking Appeals service (details on right hand side of our blog). This information will be contained in the Notice of Rejection sent to you by said authority.You should note it costs nothing to appeal other than the price of a stamp and some of your time (appeal whilst you are sitting on a rank waiting for a job). The appeal can be heard in your absence by post and if you do lose you will be informed by post and given a set amount of days to pay the original fine. Who knows you may even win, for many authorities issue tickets incorrectly.Honestly would you allow a passenger or a passer by to mug you for £80.00 ?

My advice to all London Taxi-cab drivers is to appeal all tickets that you believe have been issued incorrectly or unfairly.

The example above shows what happens to an industry that hasn't had its eye on the ball for over a decade. We now find ourselves in a situation where we are getting fined for doing our job. Authorities across London allow us 2 mins to pick up and set down passengers and this may be ok in normal circumstances however when passengers have no money, are drunk or have problems with mobility we need a lot longer than two minutes and a more common sense approach by all who enforce Parking within Greater London. Delivery Vehicles in Greater London are given up to 20 mins to carry out their duties we within the London Taxi trade need a lot longer than two minutes. The RMT and its London Taxi branch will be campaigning to extend the time allowed for you to go about your business and we shall be asking those in authority where are those rest bays that they promised you nearly a year ago?

If you want to save your job and trade join the RMT specialist transport union.

Friday, 5 March 2010

RMT in the City.

On Wednesday night this week Brian Whitehead & Dave Marshall both officials of the RMT specialist transport union visited the City of London and met with many London taxi cab drivers who were members of the RMT Taxi branch and tweetalondon cab network.

Brian and David saw first hand the issues that members of the taxi branch are concerned with. These issues range from satellite mini-cab offices (which are sprouting up all over the West End) and the age old problem of taxi touting. John Kennedy the vice chair then introduced Brian and David to members who then proceeded in large numbers to Cornhill in the City of London and then serviced the venue called Abacus.

It was clear to see on arrival that this venue has a touting problem which needs to be dealt with has a matter of urgency. The RMT will be making representations to the City of London Corporation with a view to solving this long term problem.

Monday, 22 February 2010

The LTDA and TAXI Newspaper.

It seems not a week goes by without another report in TAXI newspaper regarding matters and business of the RMT London taxi branch.

So let us make it clear for the those at Woodfield Road  members of the London taxi branch along with the vice chair John Kennedy attended a rally at parliament to ask the Government not to implement Network Rail job cuts. The logic is clear and simple and it should worry all taxi-cab drivers that it seems some within the London taxi trade don't understand the importance of a safe rail network and the knock on effect another serious rail disaster would have on work levels for all London taxi-cab drivers. We are in the middle of a recession and you only have to look at the rail terminal ranks to see how much we need these stations and the custom they bring.

It is very odd that the very organisation that runs the Paddington taxi share scheme in conjunction with Heathrow Express doesn't seem to understand the importance of rail customers to taxi-cab drivers in the capital ?

Janine Booth is the Regional Secretary of the London Transport region of the RMT specialist transport union and she does turn up to meetings of the many branches within the London region. What relevance is it therefore that Ms Janine Booth is a Gay Rights campaigner ? What an insult to all those who campaign for equal rights and what an insult to the intelligence of all London's taxi-cab drivers.

We would also like to point out at no time has any member or official of the union asked the London taxi branch to partake in industrial action, this would be illegal and would be against the law. Secondary action is against the law after legislation was introduced by the Thatcher Government in the 1980's something you would have thought a proper association with a grip on current affairs would know and understand.

It may interest many of you to know that we tend to think we compete with private hire/mini-cabs rather than bus or tube. It seems that the editor of TAXI newspaper forgot to mention that the LTDA own a 20% stake in a well known radio circuit. Doesn't this well known radio circuit book mini-cabs ?

Time for those at Woodfield road to take along hard look at themselves and worry less about the RMT London taxi branch and worry more about the direction they are taking the London taxi trade.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

RMT Taxi branch coming to a rank near you...

The RMT London taxi is hitting the ranks with a new recruitment drive and with spring approaching you'll see more members of the RMT at a rank near you.

Recently we have been well recieved at Heathrow airport and only today had a great day at Victoria station with taxi-cab drivers picking the phones up and contacting the chairman of our branch with minutes of recieving information which states clearly branch policy and certainly corrects information that others have chosen to spread in hope of damaging the RMT London taxi branch.

With spring on the way you'll certainly be seeing a lot more of the RMT and its taxi branch on the ranks and highways of Greater London, with a monthly newsletter and a new trade journal hitting the streets it will certainly be great to get our message out amongst you all and place on record our views and democratic opinions of issues that affect you the self employed working taxi-cab driver.

May we take this opportunity to thank all the members of the London taxi branch who gave up there time freely to spread our message to the wider taxi trade community and once again thank all the taxi-cab drivers who took great interest in what we have to offer.

If you wish to join the RMT London taxi branch please do email the branch at Londontaxi@rmt.org.uk and we'll pop an application form in the post for you. Alternatively you can join online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ .

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Should know better.....

There I was sitting on the taxi rank on Tuesday evening on Park Lane outside the Grosvenor house hotel/ballroom when I finally make it to the point and low and behold I find what appears to be a local borough council car parked on the clearly marked out taxi-cab rank.

Why do we think it is a local council car, well notice the number plate and crest sitting on the roof of the motor car. You may even notice that the driver isn't with the car and instead somewhere else.

So the question we must ask of this council is do they condone parking on taxi-cab ranks. After taking a look at this picture it is clear the rank is on a red route and we must ask the question who deals with illegally parked cars on red route London taxi-cab ranks?

Anyway the driver and occupants of this vehicle should know better and councillors should ensure they set an example to us all. Maybe it's time for change at Westminster City Council...

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Four Cab Ranks, Three Bouncers and a Rickshaw.

One year on after that massive taxi trade demonstration on the 5th of Feb 2009 and the London taxi trade has four cab ranks, three bouncers and another rickshaw bill to show for its effort.

Yes Mark Field MP for City of Westminster has introduced a private members bill to regulate and control rickshaws within the capital. Don't worry the RMT is on the case and we've already made contact with Mark Field MP and looking forward to recieving a copy of the draft bill when he makes it available on the parliamentary website. If you pick up any taxi trade publication you'll notice that this doesn't even get a mention, honestly you couldn't make it up! It just goes to show that some within our trade are so concerned at the creation of the RMT London taxi branch that they don't even seem to have a look at what is going on within the corridors of power (wakey wakey).

In the latest edition of one trade paper a senior member of this friendly society questions why members of the taxi branch attended a rally at parliament recently in support of the call for a safer rail network and no job cuts. Well maybe this individual has forgotten what it is like to drive a taxi-cab, maybe he and others need to understand that self employed taxi-cab drivers need a safe and secure rail network to provide us with work at the many train stations that terminate here in London. Yes trains bring us custom something you'd think fellow or ex taxi-cab drivers would understand especially considering this friendly society happens to marshall the Paddington taxi share scheme. This is though the same friendly society along with the taxi branch of the trade union Unite that thinks it's a good idea to give rickshaws/pedicabs bays/ranks on the public highway, so maybe this explains a lot?

On the bouncer front what can one say except this really does make Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police look rather silly for it seems they have very little influence or control over the streets and ranks of London at night.

Here though at the RMT London taxi branch we shall continue the hardwork and get on with representing you the self employed taxi-cab so if you wish to join the most democraic trade union in the UK please click on the link http://www.rmt.org.uk/ and fill out the application form and join the only trade union that gives you a voice on the rank, the PCO, City Hall and the corridors of power at Parliament.

PS Just in case you were wondering what would members of the taxi branch do if the underground or the trains were to strike, well the answer is simple we go to work for secondary action is illegal under trade union legislation.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Transport for London Board Meeting 3rd Feb 2010...

On the 3rd of Feb 2010 the board of Transport for London met and included in this months topics were a number of issues relating to London taxi-cabs.

If you are interested or just curious please do click on the link http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/boardandchiefofficers/papers/1436.aspx and you'll come to a page where you will have the chance to see what went on at previous meetings (item 2) and what is presently being discussed regarding our industry and job.

Items 10 and 11 are of interest to us all for they deal with a number of issues that concern us directly/indirectly.

We shall every month give you the link to the board of Transport for London and the Surface Transport Panel just so you the self employed taxi-cab driver can make your own mind up about matters concerning our trade and decide for yourself if views and opinions are actually getting voiced at the top tables where many final decisions are made.

Next meeting of the board of Transport for London will be on the 24th March 2010. The Surface Transport Panel last met on the 10th November 2009 and we await new dates for this panel to meet.

If you've never joined a union you may well think after reading these papers that the time might be right to get involved and have a say about your livelihood. The RMT London taxi branch can muster more members to attend a branch meeting than all the other trade organisations put together. People ask why is this and the answer is simple and clear, we are a democratic trade union that allow you the membership to debate and decide policy. It really is that simple so rather than have you head in a bucket or reading the ever longer lists of adverts in some of our trade papers why not join the only democratic and independent trade union in the London taxi trade and help to ensure that our trade not only survives but flourishes.

Please join online at http://www.rmt.org.uk/ or email the branch secretary for an application form at Londontaxi@rmt.org.uk

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Touting is rife not just at Christmas...

Yes Taxi touting is rife and it doesn't just happen at Christmas. London is falling to pieces at night and all those in authority with the exception of John Mason (new Director of Taxis and Mini-cabs) should hang their collective heads in shame.

Lawless London is a nightmare at times with no coherent strategy to deal with the drink and drug problem other than to let some dodgy chap shove people into the back of any car,licensed or not. Well here at the RMT specialist transport Union we intend to fight back and use the very pledge announced by the Metropolitan Police to spot, collate and collect details of licensed and un-licensed mini-cabs ranking illegally and touting for business on the public highway.

Other trade organisations have done this before but like most things in life unless you are committed to a cause interest tails off and complacency sets in. Here at the RMT London Taxi branch we are fully committed to protecting your hard earned right to ply for hire.Others may talk but are they prepared for the long hard walk? The answer is simple, I think not. What ever you may read elsewhere just take a long hard look at this trade and you'll see we are in real trouble.This hasn't happened under our watch but others,who think they know best but have failed to protect our right to ply for hire. The facts are clear in many cases and we have case/common law on our side yet there are some amongst us who have a fear of failure and choose to do nothing other than batten down the hatches and hope for the best. By doing nothing we then fail and at present this trade is accepting the fact that TFL think it is ok to allow mini-cabs to ply for hire by standing in a street forming an illegal taxi-cab rank. The answer is very clear it is not legal and this is an example of touting which we shall bring to the attention of those in authority and place the ball firmly in their court and then simply request that they carry out their duties. If they can't or won't then we have a problem but rest assured we won't be frightened to seek and take legal advice and if necessary we will mount pickets, demonstrations, media campaigns until this unlawful behaviour stops and those in authority deal with the issue.

If you are a member please log onto http://www.rmtlondoncalling.org.uk/node/1248 and download the leaflet and then simply fill in the back.Once you have completed the form return it to the freepost address with your membership number. If you are not a member and you want to get involved and save your trade please do log onto http://www.rmt.org.uk/ and join online or you can request an application form by emailing the branch secretary at Londontaxi@rmt.org.uk

Remember touting is rife and not just at Christmas...