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 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 and join online or you can request an application form by emailing the branch secretary at

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

Thursday, 28 January 2010

RMT Rally at Parliament on the 27th of Jan 2010.

At 12.30-pm on the 27th of January 2010 the RMT specialist transport union held a rally and lobby of parliament to defend members jobs under threat at Network Rail.

Members of the London taxi branch attended in support of their colleagues within the union but also to support the call for a properly run and well maintained rail network. Can you imagine for one minute a city like London without the rail hubs and ranks we have. The largest and by far biggest taxi ranks within the capital bar Heathrow are at each of the mainline stations.

With the RMT specialist transport union having a major presence at each of the mainline stations it makes sense for taxi-cab drivers to not only join but to support an industry that provides us with custom like no other. People who travel by train use taxi-cabs to and from stations and it is vitally important that we not only have a presence via ranks but that these ranks fully intergrate with other parts of the transport network.

Some within our industry believe we can work in isolation the truth is look at where this kind of thinking has led our trade. We have satellite mini-cab offices with illegal ranks all over the capital, licensed mini-cabs openly touting on the public highway and growing at an alarming rate with little or no work to cover this rapid expansion.

The RMT specialist transport union is a democractic union led by its members from the branch up and whilst we grow stronger we must understand that in this modern world we need a strong union to help fight the many battles that lay ahead. We will survive this recession but London's poorly run private hire industry have stolen a march by being given what is in effect the right to rank outside bars and clubs because of lax lazy representation by other organisations within the taxi trade. The RMT specialist transport union will organise, campaign, protest, lobby and work tirelessly for you the London taxi-cab driver. We can organise and lobby like no other just take a look at the picture above and see for yourself working men and women getting ready in their hundreds to lobby MP's at the House of Commons.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

South London Press...

According to a report in the latest edition of the South London Press (Firday Jan 22nd, page 11) by Chief Reporter Greg Truscott many main roads heading to and from the centre of the capital could be closed on a temporary basis to cut the pollution from exhaust emissions.

This story came to light after a question was tabled by Green Assembly member Darren Johnson which confirmed that the Mayor of London had asked local councils to consider the impact of temporary road closures to cut pollution levels.

You should be under no illusion that the RMT specialist transport union and its London taxi branch is already on the case and will be seeking clarification from Tranport for London/Public Carriage Office that London's taxi-cabs should be excluded from any road closure programme. We shall also be bringing this issue to the attention of Caroline Pidgeon AM chair of the Transport Committee on the Greater London Assembly.

All members should note that many stories appear in local papers across the capital and it is vitally important that all of us keep an eye on these publications for they provide us with very useful information especially notices from the local council and Transport for London.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

RMT London Taxi Branch News. Issue 1 January 2010.

Yes we have a newsletter that will be hitting the ranks and cafes shortly but if like me you can't wait to get a hard copy click on the link and have a read at .This will be a monthly newsletter which not only informs,but deals with relevant issues that affect you the self-employed London Taxi-cab driver.

This month we are looking at two very serious issues; the Mayor's emission strategy and the menace of the Satellite mini-cab office. Now both these issues were dealt with and/or created under the previous Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and the trade is rightly shocked that after all the money spent upgrading Taxi-cabs that we are back to square one and entering a period of further instability. The issue of Satellite mini-cab offices is one that will only rest once we have shut every single one of these offices down. These offices make a mockery of the law and have turned the clock backwards to days before the introduction of the licensing of mini-cabs.

Rest assured whilst others in this trade look inwards to find battles to win we at the RMT London Taxi branch will take on the difficult issues and campaign, complain, picket and protest until the illegal ranks and the clipboard operators are removed from the public highway and sent back to where they their office waiting for a legal booking from a bona fide customer and not touting on the public highway.

Time for common/case law to be obeyed by those in authority, the clock is ticking and we have lost enough custom/income due to lax, lazy enforcement. Let us hope the new man in charge proves to be better at running the Public Carriage Office then the previous chap. A Taxi-cab can "ply for hire" a mini-cab must be "prebooked" the laws are there and it is time for these two different industries to go their separate ways.

Join the only trade union prepared and willing to defend your future, join the RMT specialist transport union at .

You should have recieved your copy of RMT News by now and if you happen to thumb through the very informative pages you'll come across . RMT junction is our very own social networking site where you can get involved with discussions with fellow union members from your branch and the many thousands of members of the RMT specialist transport union.

No matter what branch or section of the union you belong to remember that we are all working people whether employed or self-employed. RMT Junction will provide you with a platform and forum to organise local campaigns, talk about your favourite football/rugby team or band, place pictures, newsletters, blog and even embed video from Youtube. If you haven't already turn to pages 14/15 of RMT News log on to your pc or laptop and sign up to RMT Junction and while your busy registering remember we have RMT email addresses for all members at . Time for us all to move into the 21st Century and get better connected for information is key not just for day to day business but organising effective demonstrations and keeping as many of us informed of current trade issues/matters.

Yet again the RMT specialist transport union leads the way with modern up to date technologies designed to ensure we are all better connected and informed. so if you haven't already joined log onto and sign up online or you can request an application by post by emailing the branch secretary at .

Friday, 22 January 2010

Highway Robbery...

With the introduction of CCTV camera enforcement and the armies of Civil Enforcement Officers patrolling London's streets and roads it is not rare to hear that plenty of London Taxi-cab drivers receive parking tickets for just doing their job.

Well here at the RMT specialist transport union and the London taxi branch we intend to look into the actions of councils and their treatment of Taxi-cab drivers when compared to other road users. It is fast becoming a regular complaint by members that they are ticketed and that private hire/mini-cab drivers who are not only parked but ranking illegally are ignored by the local councils and then by the Metropolitan Police.

On the 1st of Feb 2010 members of the fastest growing Taxi branch in the UK will be meeting in Victoria and no doubt this will be a topic of debate where self employed London Taxi-cab drivers will decide on a campaign and course of action to redress the imbalance created by greedy local councils who seem hell bent on damaging your wealth/profit margin.

In the meantime we urge all members to appeal all tickets that you believe are issued unfairly or incorrectly. Please note even if the council reject your appeal you have the right to appeal to the Parking and Traffic Appeal Service, you can find the link to the website in the green bar on the right hand side of this blog.

Join the RMT specialist transport union at

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Good News from Channel 4.

Fantastic news from Channel 4 today when they confirmed that the Tuk-tuk's seen in the West End of London were only a part of the "Indian Winter" seasonal campaign which ended on Monday the 18th January 2010.

So we can confirm that the tuk-tuk's are tucked up somewhere off the public highway. Now with a bit more drive from the rest of the London taxi trade and a little more support for the RMT specialist transport union and its London taxi branch policy of "NO to clause 19" of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) bill and we can has a trade can rid the streets of the capital of any notion or idea of pedicab/rickshaw ranks and then ensure any new Government of what ever political party is under no illusion that we want these daft death traps banned from the public highway.

Join the only union with the drive, passion, knowledge and ability to deal with the real problems we face on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, join the RMT at

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Channel 4 Tuk Tuk's...

Channel 4 have for some reason decided to put free tuk-tuk's onto the streets of London to promote its "Indian Winter" campaign. If you look at the picture we see clearly the Channel 4 logo and across the back you can just make out the words "take a free ride on us". Now the questions we need to ask of this public sector broadcaster are very simple.

Did they seek permission from any relevant authority (PCO/TFL, Westminster City Council, Metropolitan Police) before they decided to place tuk-tuk's on the public highway ?

Do Channel 4 understand that the London Taxi trade is presently in the middle of a very bad recession ?

Did Channel 4 contact any Taxi trade organisation/union and seek advice on this publicity stunt ?

Now before anybody tells us we are over reacting just remember when the first few rickshaws hit the streets of London we were told "people won't use them", "there's only a few of them" etc. Well here we are with well over 900 3rd world death traps on the streets of the capital and look at the chaos and congestion they cause.

The RMT London Taxi branch have been in contact with John Mason Director of Taxis and Private Hire and we are of the understanding that Martin Low of Westminster City Council and the Metropolitan Police are looking into this matter. Any further details we shall inform you asap via the blog/email or at one of our branch meetings.

Remember whatever you hear elsewhere you'll only get to the truth by talking to and joining a real Taxi Trade Union and that is the RMT specialist transport union

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

RMT Specialist Transport Union...

On Tuesday the 5th of January Brian Whitehead,Regional Organiser of the RMT Specialist Transport Union,along with David Vidgen, Eddie Lambert, Stan Murat, John Kennedy and James Thomas met with John Mason the new Director of Taxis and Private Hire at Transport for London.

Many issues were discussed in detail ranging from the recent consultation on taxi fares and passenger information, satellite mini-cab offices, touting, illegal ranks, pedicabs/rickshaws and the present bill before Parliament. The meeting was constructive and certainly frank with a good exchange of opinion.It was felt that a future meeting should be arranged in February so that we can discuss issues in more detail.

It must be said that the new director is certainly a breath of fresh air and displays a level of openness that was unheard of in previous years under different management. The RMT and its London Taxi branch looks forward to open honest dialogue with the new director and his management team at Transport for London/Public Carriage Office.

Branch Meeting 11th January 2010.

With a change of venue and the beginning of a new year it must be said what a tremendous turn out at this latest meeting of the RMT London Taxi branch. With real opinions and views of hard working self employed taxi-cab drivers the RMT is certainly on the move and is the only really democratic trade union/organisation within the London Taxi trade. So if you haven't already joined please do visit us at and sign up now. We at the RMT listen to you the membership and you the membership decide policy.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

RMT meets Murad Qureshi AM at City Hall...

The RMT specia-list tran-sport union and its London taxi branch hit the ground running this week with a meeting on Tuesday the 5th of January at City Hall where Brian Hall committee member (pictured here with Murad Qureshi) and John Kennedy vice chair met with Murad to discuss a range of issues affecting the London taxi branch.

Top of the agenda was the Mayor's emissions proposals and how these will in their present form impact on the London taxi trade. Murad was receptive and certainly understands the concerns of the self employed taxi-cab drivers. The discussions then widened from emissions to include pedicabs, touting, satellite mini-cab offices, transport for London and the Public Carriage Office.

It was felt by all present that this was a constructive meeting and we would certainly like to thank Murad Qureshi Labour Assembly Member of the GLA for agreeing to meet so early in the New Year. We look forward to meeting Murad at our branch early this year where many of the above subjects will be debated in much more detail.

Monday, 4 January 2010

3rd World Transport...

Would BAA let gliders take off from London Heath-row or Gatwick airports, would Transport for London or Network Rail allow you or I to use a manually propelled rail platform on the underground or intercity/highspeed rail network, the answer is a resounding NO! Therefore we must ask the question why does the Mayor and board of Transport for London sit back and allow one of the most dangerous passenger carrying objects to be placed on the public highways of the capital.

These objects have no impact protection nor facilities for those in wheelchairs or with assistance dogs. The objects are dangerous and should be banned from the public highway and placed within the confines of London's many parks. The Mayor wants to see these objects licensed, we at the RMT London taxi branch wish to see 3rd World rip off dangerous transport removed from the public highway. Others within the London taxi trade think it is a good idea to allow ranks/stands to be placed on the public highway for these objects. We must say it really does worry us and it should certainly worry you that the LTDA and the union UNITE think it would be a good idea to give these objects ranks/stands in any London borough.

You should remember that last year the RMT London taxi branch was the first trade union to react and deal with the issue of the individual on the knowledge of London who had serious mental health problems. The story broke on the 2nd of September we were picketing on the 4th and demanding a reversal of this policy that compromised public safety and our world wide reputation. The other trade organisations finally turned up on the 10th of September when we had done all the hardwork and won the battle in the media with reports in the Evening Standard and regular updates on LBC 97.3 fm. What was a real concern though was the fact that it was and still is rumoured that a certain trade association knew of this information for well over a year but who knows and let us be honest with you we only deal with fact and not fiction here at the RMT.

We have many battles ahead and we hope to soon have some excellent news regarding the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) Bill. Remember we have an excellent parliamentary team that has written to the Mayor seeking talks and discussions regarding the progress of this bill and our democratic right to object to this daft pointless "Voluntary Registration Scheme" that is unenforceable and unworkable due to its voluntary nature. Remember the RMT says "NO to 19" (clause 19 of the bill) and the voluntary registration of these dangerous objects whilst the LTDA and the union UNITE say lets give them ranks/stands on the public highway. Come to think of it wasn't it the LTDA and the union UNITE that had the ear of the previous Mayor of London Ken Livingstone when Transport for London created these SATELLITE MINI-CAB offices?

Just Remember as we enter another year in recession and the start of the kipper season that it is the RMT specialist tranport union that is picking up the baton left by others who are clearly not up to speed or the job in defending your right to ply for hire.

Join the RMT specialist transport union at or contact the branch secretary at or via mobile phone 07899 786 433.

Friday, 1 January 2010


Happy New Year to you all and let us welcome the new decade and year of 2010 with renewed vigour and determination to save our jobs and trade from the damage of the past ten years.

This new decade brings to a close a very dark lazy chapter in the history of the London taxi trade, one where those in authority failed this trade at nearly every twist and turn. A near decade of economic boom that led us all to believe that things would only get better, with growth in business finally declining in the last quarter of 2007 the writing was on the wall and along came a recession that we are still presently in.

For the London taxi trade will survive a recession no matter how deep for we are decent hard working people who cut the cloth to meet our needs of family and loved ones. However the threat from private hire/mini-cabs and the lazy lax representation this trade has experienced over the last decade must be brought to a sharp end. The days of silence and submission are over and we shall stand tall and true and ensure that you the hard working self employed taxi-cab driver doesn't just have a voice but you have a union that you can be proud of, one that will work night and day to ensure our collective right to ply for hire isn't taken away by stealth or lazy representation.

  1. Time to scrap the Satellite mini-cab offices and time for those who sat back and allowed these offices to be created without challenge to step down and go back to driving a taxi-cab.
  2. Time to end the lines of illegal mini-cab ranks all over Greater London.
  3. Time to stand up and defend our right to ply for hire.
  4. Time to ask the united trade organisations what did that drive in on the 5th of Feb 2009 (it's nearly a year now) actually achieve.
  5. Time to scrap clause 19 of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) bill. The RMT is the only trade union/organisation that is actually doing work in Parliament and the Greater London Assembly to ensure that pedicabs DO NOT GET RANKS on the public highway. You should note the LTDA and the union UNITE support this bill and wish to see pedicab ranks on the public highway. Pedicab ranks will lead to mini-cab ranks, honestly can you really trust the authorities with those empty hollow promises of enforcement. Just look at the state of touting and illegal ranking by licensed mini-cab drivers which the authorities fail to deal with on a daily/weekly basis.
  6. Time to end touting for "touting is rife and not just at Christmas".
The fact is 2010 is the beginning of a New Year and a new decade one that we can fill with hope so do one thing this year and that is join the only trade union that is prepared to deal with the issues that affect you and your family. It's time to join  the RMT specialist transport union and take an active part in saving your right to ply for hire and the world's greatest taxi-cab trade.


Time for certain trade organisations to concentrate on the real issues affecting this trade end the sniping and slating now and stand up to the authorities and defend our collective right to ply for hire. Join the specailist transport union the RMT at or contact the branch secretary for details at .

Best wishes from the RMT London taxi branch for 2010 and the decade ahead....