Demos take place across the country in anger at ‘Wild West’ regulation.
GMB members will launch a national day of protest in a bid to protect the taxi and private hire industries.
The day of action will take place on May 23rd across the country, including Brighton, Leeds, London and the M25 area, York, Manchester, Trafford, Rochdale, and Cardiff.
The demonstrations are in anger at the saturation of private hire vehicles and out of town minicabs plying for hire in towns and cities where they are not licensed - with some authorities, notably TfL in London, dishing out licenses ‘like sweeties’.
Earnings have been cut to such an extent that drivers are being forced to work longer and longer hour to scrape by, with many plying for hire in areas where they are not licensed.
Many now earn below the national minimum wage.
GMB say the rigged economy favours global companies that pay little tax and no VAT to the UK economy, at the expense of good local drivers who are an asset to local economies.
A ‘Wild West’ situation forms in many towns and cities each a weekend – with local licensing enforcement officers who feel powerless to prevent out of town vehicles plying for hire in areas where they have not been licensed.
In many cases we see local drivers and their small businesses being forced out of business.
A lack of national standards and a national data base means that safeguarding is now a worry.
Nationally there are over 350,000 people who earn a living from the trades, ranging from Taxi and private hire drivers to chauffeurs, operators, enforcement officers, office staff, insurers, mechanics and test centres.
Many important services are provided ranging from school transport services, transport for disabled passengers, airports and train station services, as well as the ordinary journeys for business or pleasure.
This is an important trade and a major part of local economies.
GMB is campaigning to help influence with all parties elected local councilors and politicians for changes to national legislation to protect good, local licensed drivers and the services they provide.
The campaign themes are:
- Enshrine into operators’ licences drivers workers’ rights and safety standards
- Protect local Taxis and Minicab services
- Stop out of town working and cross border working
- Change the law
- Stop illegal touting and false 'ply for hire'
- Create a national database for operators, drivers, enforcement officers
- Safeguarding and National Standards
- Enforcement officers to be given the power to enforce "out of town" drivers
- Call for an Independent Inquiry into UK government collusion regarding TFL granting an operator’s license to a company
Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for the Taxi and Professional Drivers Trades, said:
“The vast majority of drivers in the trades of both Taxi and minicabs are professional drivers, and operate strictly in accordance with their licensing requirements.
"However because of the huge surge in licences being issued there is now over capacity, where drivers are being encouraged by their operators to work hundreds of miles from where they are licensed.
"Many operators are refusing to recognise the safety risks they are placing on drivers due to excessive hours working.
"There is no national database for drivers, operators or enforcement officers.
"Unfortunately the government does not recognise there is a problem, which in the main is of their making.”
Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at email@example.com