Friday, 4 November 2011


The RMT London Taxi Branch is currently working on a new website that will pull all of its blogs together under one URL address. This will make navigating the various issues much easier for visitors and users alike.

The new website is still under construction and can be viewed at

Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Big George Webley RIP...

On behalf of the RMT London taxi branch we would like to express our sadness at the news of the death of bbc London 94.9 fm radio presenter and talented musician/composer "Big George Webley".

George was a true friend to the London taxi trade who enjoyed a tea/roll and a chat at many of our late night stops from Chelsea Bridge, Tom's at Clapham Common and the Royal Oak before it closed. He always allowed us airtime like no other presenter or station. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this great moment of sadness and loss to the world of radio and music.

Big George Webley may you rest in peace...

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Time to Step Back...

The RMT London Taxi branch held its AGM on Wednesday the 13th of April 2011 and I (John Kennedy) decided to step back and did not seek re-election to the position of Chairman or the committee.

I need a break and I'm looking forward to spending a little more time walking my Fox Terriers and working the Taxi-cab. You are in good hands with the new top team of;
  • Paul Walsh Chairman
  • Stan Marut Branch Secretary
  • Paul Bond Vice Chairman
  • Mike Tinnion Assistant Branch Secretary
These are all capable people and considering they are all past members of the committee I'm sure they'll continue the good work that we've all been involved with.

Just so you all know we are just about to present our petition to Parliament regarding Part 4 clause 17 of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (no.2) Bill. I've been working on this issue/problem with RMT policy/political unit so I'll be continuing to work on this issue and a few others so that the new committee is able to meet further challenges and changes that will no doubt be heading our way.

The Branch and the wider Taxi driving driving community should note that recently I/we communicated with the Mayor of London regarding the consultation of the "special exemptions" clause contained within his air quality strategy. I/we are pleased to inform you that despite the efforts of some from within the trade we are to be included in that consultation along with other trade organisations. May I take this opportunity to thank the Mayor of London for honouring his word and ensuring that the RMT London Taxi branch is included in all consultations that affect our members/working Taxi-cab drivers.

I cannot end this short posting without mentioning two great men who have done some excellent work for the branch over the last 12 months and that is brothers Sean Kellett and Paul White.

Please note I'll put this on the record now that I'll be seeking the position of Branch Secretary next April 2012. On that note may I wish the whole of the committee a busy, fruitful productive year ahead.


John Kennedy RMT London Taxi branch activist...

Monday, 11 April 2011

Public Safety First...

The RMT London Taxi Branch today starts a campaign to end the utter madness here in the capital at night. Women are getting sexually assaulted, raped here in London on a regular basis and we see very little done by those who hold the power and the key to better enforcement to deter these criminals from preying on women here in the capital.

The RMT London Taxi Branch picketed the offices of Transport for London (Windsor House, Victoria Street SW1) today and we will be picketing and demonstrating outside many more offices/buildings of those who could do a lot more to deter "touting" by "bogus" and unlicensed and licensed mini-cab drivers.

TFL along with the Metropolitan Police regularly raid bendy buses in an effort to protect the revenue of bus companies yet the efforts to deter "touting" and the subsequent "assaults/rapes" appear insignificant.

Better enforcement by the Metropolitan and City of London Police services, closure of mini-cab sub/satellite offices and a proactive attitude from TFL and its Taxi/Private Hire division.

RMT London Taxi Branch...

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Safer Travel at Night (STAN)/Demonstrations.

If Transport for London which is chaired by the Mayor and the Metropolitan Police Service are serious about "tackling" touting by unlicensed and licensed mini-cab drivers can they please explain to the RMT London Taxi branch why they have done absolutely nothing with regards to the blatant parking and illegal ranking on the Charing Cross Road? Please note our members along with many others have complained to Westminster City Council and TFL/Taxi private hire.

A Taxi rank (night-time) is occupied by cars/touts every night of the week and the authorities choose not to even ticket those who sit upon a working Taxi-cab rank. Note the Met Police have the power to ticket and if necessary surely to remove vehicles placed upon a working Taxi rank.

In 2009 there were 143 reported sexual offences.We now know that of that 143 reported crimes 24 of them were actual rapes. Yes 24 women raped in London and 119 were sexually assaulted whilst the culprits or suspects "rank illegally" in the heart of the west end or outside night clubs/bars and those in authority eg the Met Police, the Mayor and Transport for London do very little other than the annual Christmas campaign that very few people take notice of when they are under the influence of alcohol.

What is even more worrying is the way the Metropolitan Police record crimes so the RMT London Taxi branch will be bringing to the attention a number of issues to the present commissioner of the Met Police and the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA).


All Taxi-cab drivers should note that the RMT London Taxi branch is a democratic well organised growing union of like minded Taxi-cab drivers who are prepared and willing to engage with people in authority so that we can improve the working conditions of you the Taxi-cab driver and provide an even better Taxi-cab service to members of the public.

We have over recent months engaged with the present director of Taxi private hire and have been involved and included in all Taxi trade consultations contrary to what some people might like you the Taxi-cab driver to believe. The committee of the branch works tirelessly on your behalf however there comes a point where those in authority fail to deal with and tackle problems that Taxi-cab drivers exprience on a near nightly or daily basis.

Branch members have mandated the committee of the RMT to start a programme of demonstrations at various locations/spots within London. I am pleased to inform members that plans are afoot and we shall be informing you and the media of a number of dates/times/places where we will begin more public/vocal and maybe even noisy events to highlight to the wider world the incompetency of many who hold office and fail to carry out their job/duties in a professional/competent manner.

Join the RMT London Taxi branch online at or pop into George Vyse (committee member) at Great Suffolk Street Taxi Centre or RMT Unity House in Chalton Street NW1 and sign up on the spot.

RMT "never on our knees".

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Safer Travel at Night...

Within many parts of the taxi trade but especially the online quarter much debate is had about the failure of the "safer travel at night" initiative that attempts to educate the public and ensure people like you and me get home safely at night.

If this initiative had actually respected the London taxi-cab driver and actually "obeyed" the law with regards to "ranking" and "plying for hire" Transport for London" and the "Metropolitan Police" might not find themselves staring at a set of statistics that paint a very grime picture of sexual related assaults relating to touts/mini-cabs/phv's and on the very rare occasion a London taxi-cab.

The statistics released by Transport for London back in September 2010 make grim reading for they clearly show a rise in sexual assaults/rapes, here follow the numbers for 2008/2009;
  • 2008 = 93
  • 2009 = 143
A rise of over 50% at a time of increased activity by the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London. The figures also hide another nasty tale and that is their is no breakdown into particular categories and in our opinion this besmirches the good name of you the London taxi-cab driver. So let us assure you we are working extremely hard and we shall be seeking additional figures and pursuing with whatever quango/agency/body/authority answers to many questions until the figures released by the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London are clear and transparent.

Let's be totally honest the Metropolitan Police must hold an actual breakdown of these figures, if they don't it would mean they are unable to distinguish between a car/mini-cab and taxi-cab and that would not be good or competent policing.

If you wish to join the RMT and its London taxi branch please do so at or contact the branch via mobile/text/email.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Excellent Branch Meeting...

What an excellent start to the new year for the RMT London Taxi branch with a packed January meeting and a welcome visit from Steve Hedley regional organiser for the London Transport region (TFL).

Much was discussed at the two hour meeting and the branch is moving forward with the formation of sub-committees which involve members (Taxi-cab drivers) getting involved and dealing with the real issues that affect us all on a daily/nightly basis.

The issue of age limits was debated and we have decided to seek legal advice re this very thorny issue that will see many (thousands) Taxi-cabs come off the road in the year 2012. It is sad to say for all the talk of the change in management of the PCO we are still managed by people (TFL) who fail to consult properly with the very people who pay them the licence fees.

Transparency is also a major issue and in the year 2011 the Taxi trade appears to meet in private with no public record of meetings/minutes taking place. It is important that proper minutes/records are kept of meetings so that all parties whoever they may be understand the wider responsibility they have towards all of the Taxi-cab driving community. The RMT London Taxi branch is a well run branch of a very well organised and effective trade union, we comply with all relevant trade union legislation.

Over the coming weeks and months you'll be hearing a lot more of us for we are a campaigning union that doesn't give up but understands to win you need to be in this for the long haul. The issues that we face as a Taxi trade will not be dealt with overnight and one or two drive-in's solve nothing. You have to lobby politicians of the GLA/Parliament, seek consensus where you can, build relationships with the media but most importantly do the ground work, the real hard work and then present your case in a clear concise manner for all to see/hear and judge.

RMT London Taxi branch "never on our knees".

Saturday, 8 January 2011


Happy New Year to one and all but especially members of the RMT London Taxi branch.

Please note that the first meeting of the RMT London Taxi branch will be at the Chadwick Street Sports Centre just behind the Channel 4 building off Horseferry Road SW1 at 6.45pm on Weds the 12th of January 2011.

We have much to discuss/debate and organise for the coming year. The London Taxi trade isn't stuck at a crossroads, it appears to be sitting on a level crossing whilst the alarms ring out all around us. Just before Christmas the Taxi trade was yet again punished for driving Taxi-cabs that TFL licence and insist we drive, yet it is the ordinary Taxi-cab driver/owner who has an age limit placed upon a vehicle with little compensation on offer to offset the reduction in the residual values of all our Taxi-cabs.

Please Note the RMT London Taxi branch said NO to age limits and we sought a more generous compensation package that would have given the London Taxi trade a real incentive to upgrade to a euro 4 and when available a euro 5 standard Taxi-cab. Instead the London Taxi trade has been lumbered with an age limit of 15 years from the 1st of January 2012, and moved a step closer to parity with the mini-cab/phv trade by accepting "mini-cab" standard vehicle testing procedures from 2013.

The twice yearly annual MoT along with two further visits to SGS is identical to the mini-cab/phv testing procedure. Many in the London Taxi trade sang for joy when Boris Johnson was elected Mayor and he scrapped the twice yearly annual inspection regime yet it appears some have forgotten what they lobbied for just 3 years ago.

Our trade is in trouble and you the self employed Taxi-cab driver needs to understand that in the year 2011 we still don't have a say in how our businesses are run. It's time to join the RMT and shake the very foundations that TFL is built upon and wake those in authority up once again.

Join the RMT at