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GMB Drivers To Protest On 11th June

Monday, June 9, 2014

GMB Professional Drivers To Protest In London On Wednesday 11th June Over Deregulation And Poor Management Of Trade By TFL

Introduction of unregulated taxi drivers, ending criminal records checks, ending vehicle checks and ending local licensing will be a hammer blow to the taxi and private hire industry says GMB.

GMB professional drivers will take part in protest action in London are other parts of England on Wednesday 11 June over deregulation of  the taxi and private hire industry and  how Transport for London manage licensing issues such as touting and unlicensed operators in the trade.

The protests in London will start in Trafalgar Square at 2pm and is expected spread across the capital.

Steve Garelick, Branch President of the GMB professional drivers branch, said:  “GMB members consider that the introduction of unregulated taxi drivers, ending criminal records checks, ending vehicle checks and ending local licensing will be a hammer blow to the taxi and private hire industry.

With Transport for London (TFL) there has been a lack of clear direction which has led to Taxis and Private Hire Groups has taken whilst the main obligation of any authority is licensing to protect.

However there must be a obligation to keep trade to the groups who are paying for legitimate licences in their district and there is a strong argument this is not the case.

We have campaigned on uninsured and unlicensed operators and drivers for many years and we cannot ignore the facts that at present many individuals are slipping through the net. 

There has been a ground change in how people order Taxis and Private hire. Many chose to use the growing number of smart phone apps that will allow you to book and track your vehicle at a moments notice.

However for many in the London taxi trades this is an issue. In the case of Uber taxis have a concern that the app runs on a similar basis to a taxi meter and therefore breaches Londons legislation.

Additionally charges have been made that in the case of Ubers app that it also has a surge pricing feature which increases rates at the end of the journey and passengers are then given a nasty taste in the mouth.

TFL are now trying via the High Court to gain approval that the Uber app is fit for purpose however there is strong opposition from trade associations unions and driver groups.

GMB stands with the Licenced Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) in condemning the wilful avoidance by Uber BV of the tax obligations that other private hire and taxi operators in the UK adhere to.

GMB is also concerned about the unusual situation which seems to be in place for VAT and Non VAT registered drivers too.

Despite claims that they comply with the law there is a clear comparison with Amazon Starbucks and others who obfuscate UK tax payments.

When the TFL originally licensed Uber GMB questioned the practices of the company and now sees that many of its questions at the time seem to have been well founded.

Having learned that compliance officers from TFL forced major changes proved that guidelines for London operators did not seem to be adhered to.

As LPHCA and Licensed Taxi Drivers association (LTDA) have brought or plan to bring cases against Uber and it’s drivers how can it be ethical to use a company that makes it’s own rules whilst other operators in the profession have to comply with the strict guidelines such as a telephone number for bookings.

With operators from outside the UK such as Blacklane taking bookings without any quality or safety standards how sure can you be that the car you book is based on the same high standards that applied to licensed companies within local authorities?

There is also a concern that anyone can claim to certain apps they are licensed as a driver thus putting vulnerable individuals at risk without formal checks in place those offering applications cannot prove that the driver sent is the driver they have details of

Turning to TFL there has been a lack of clear direction which has led to Taxis and Private Hire Groups has taken whilst the main obligation of any authority is licensing to protect.

However there must be a obligation to keep trade to the groups who are paying for legitimate licences in their district and there is a strong argument this is not the case.

We have campaigned on uninsured and unlicensed operators and drivers for many years and we cannot ignore the facts that at present many individuals are slipping through the net.”

End

Contact: Steve Garelick 07565 456 776, Or Michelle Bacon 07961 709680 oOr Mick Rix 07971 268343.  GMB press office 07921 289 880 or 07974 251 823

Steve.garelick@gmbdrivers.org

 

 

 

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