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Huge Protest Over 'Unfair' Language Test

Thursday, December 8, 2016


GMB demo sees more than 100 drivers make a stand against ’ludicrously overpriced’ licence exam.

Scores of drivers are set to gather outside London’s City Hall today in anger at being forced to fork out £180 to prove they speak English.

More than 100 private hire drivers joined the GMB demo in the capital as the GLA transport committee met inside the building.

Under the new scheme from Transport for London (TfL) divers risk losing their license if they cannot prove they have a secondary school-level qualifications. [1]

If they do not have a GCSE certificate, they must undergo a day-long language test under belittling classroom conditions.

Private hire operators in London are furious about the move and GMB has written to the London Assembly to raise members’ concerns.

Steve Garelick, GMB's professional drivers’ secretary, said:

“The number of people who have come here today to protest at this ludicrously priced exam is testament to how upset they are.

“It’s completely unfair – everyone agrees private hire drivers should be able to speak a reasonable level of English, but forcing them to shell out almost £200 to complete an essay is far too much.

“Now TfL has to pass a language test - listening to the voice of reason.”


Notes to editors:

Contact: Steve Garelick on 07565 456776 or at steve.garelick@gmbdrivers.or or GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at

[1] Details of TfL language requirement here:

Previous press releases:


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