GMB Seeks Support For Call On Basildon Council To Review Decision Against Cab Fare Increase For Local Cab Drivers
Basildon cabbies are seeking a 20 pence per journey fare increase and asking the Basildon Licensing Committee should reconsider their decision says GMB.
GMB, the union for professional drivers, is calling on Basildon Council to increase taxi and private hire fares by 20 pence per journey to help drivers make ends meet. It is four years since taxi fares have been increased and the drivers have been absorbing the rising cost of utility bills rising rents and mortgages and rising motoring costs.
A meeting of the Basildon Licensing Committee on 19th March voted against a fares increase. GMB is seeking support from the Basildon Labour Group to challenge that decision and to ask the Committee to reconsider.
A survey of Basildon Taxi drivers over the financial and health implications of working in the trade was carried out for GMB and other trade reps by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and the results passed to Basildon Council Task and Finish Review into Taxis. Drivers were found to be in favour of a ballot the result of the ballot was 2 to 1 in favour of a fare rise.
150 survey forms were returned. 75% of drivers surveyed said they were working between 50 to 100 hours per week. 90% of drivers surveyed said that their health had suffered as result from the stress of working long hours. 44% of drivers surveyed said they had rent/mortgage arrears.
Steve Garelick, GMB Professional Drivers Branch said, “At the end of February more than a quarter of Taxi and private hire drivers had not renewed their Taxi badges with many drivers leaving the trades through lack of earning potential and costs, restrictions, put on them by a restrictive licensing authority.
Basildon Taxi drivers have had one fare increase of 20 pence per journey 4 years ago which means that fare start at £2.20.
Taxi drivers are self-employed and receive no holiday pay, sickness cover, and have to fund their own pension plans. The job is regarded as a dangerous one, drivers are regularly assaulted, verbally abused, and then you have customers that refuse to pay the fare.
To the police we are the fifth emergency service, we make sure loved ones and siblings get home late at night, we help the elderly carry their shopping to the door, and we provide wheel chair accessible vehicles, giving the most disadvantaged a means of transport.
Basildon has already lost 30 wheel chair accessible taxis drivers and their vehicles leave the trade as they were unable to make it work financially. This puts Basildon’s disabled residents at a disadvantage and increases the time they have to wait for a suitable Taxi to become available.
Basildon cabbies are seeking a 20 pence per journey fare increase and asking the Basildon Licencing Committee should reconsider their decision.”
Contact: Steve Garelick, GMB Professional Drivers Branch on 07565 456776 of GMB Press Officer on 07974 251823.