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

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 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.