Saturday, January 20, 2018

What The Press Said: London’s Black Cabs Descend On Aldwych For Latest Demo

London taxi drivers have descended on Aldwych for the fifth and final protest this week against TfL and Uber.


The demos, in response to TfL's reasons for revoking Uber’s licence and the minicab firm’s continued operation in London, have taken place every day this week in the capital.

On Friday black cabs caused gridlock in the Aldywch and The Strand areas of central London.

The protest, began at about 3.30pm, and finished at 6pm so theatre goers wouldn’t be affected. 

Buses serving Aldwych were diverted or terminated earlier than usual, TfL said. A number of routes were also cut short at Waterloo.

TfL said bus passes were being accepted on the underground in zone 1

It tweeted: “Strand/Aldwych area - A demonstration is taking place today with restrictions implemented northbound at Waterloo Bridge, southbound Kingsway and eastbound Fleet Street ”.

City of London police added: “There is due to be another planned demonstration in London today which may impact roads in the City during rush hour.

A TfL spokesman said: "The law stipulates that operators can continue until any appeals process is exhausted.

{This is a lie as a Taxi Driver waiting a licensing appeal has been off work for seven months, plus Taxi drivers caught in a backlog of licence renewal applications, were told they couldn’t work. 

Many Taxi drivers were off work for months.}

TfL urge the organisers to call the protests off. 

{But organisers are adamant, while TfL put profit before public safety, the protests will continue}   

Earlier protests this week took place on Monday in Elephant & Castle, Tuesday in Marble Arch, Wednesday in Parliament Square and Thursday in London Bridge.

Source : Evening Standard :

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA COMMENT 

NOTE TO GEORGE !

We would just like to inform the Standard's editor, although your paper said in it's byline 'Final Protest' Friday's protest was far from final. 

As they say, it's never over...till it's over!

The ITA have announced today, in future, their new media group will be informing all press outlets before demos, supplying complete details of all trade grievances.

A Statement Of Intent From The ITA, After Five Days Of Protests

   

Men of long standing, men I admire, proper millitant men who've been cabbies for decades all said: 
"You'll never get drivers to demo for a week at St Pancras/Kings Cross Station. It's never been done!
It will never be done!"

They warned us of our folly.
What happened?
We did it!

You'll never know if something can be done until you try.

The same with a week at Bank Junction.
Pity we had weak negotiators, who opted for appeasement.
But we did our bit, we got them to the table.
We won.

The Orgs grasped defeat from the jaws of victory.

Then they said no one will have the stamina for a week of protest around London.
And again today, we proved all the doubters wrong.

Never again shall we allow the weak, appeasing 'spokesmen', who refused even to attend a protest with their members, ever speak for us again!

The LCDC, GMB and the RMT supported their members during this week, by turning up on the front line.

Those of us in the LTDA, UCG and Unite, must go back and demand to know why their Org leaders abandoned them.

If you don't like the answers.
Walk out!
And give your hard earned money to those who are willing to stand by you!

We've all suffered and made huge sacrifices this week!
Those traitorous Orgs don't deserve our membership


 Five Glorious Days 

The ITA’s goal, was to get our plight media coverage. Five days - everyday made national press, TV and radio. In answer to the Mayor of London and TfL's misinformation to the media, that they have no choice in allowing Uber to continue to trade, although deemed "not fit and proper". Also to hurt our nemesis, (TfL), by stopping/slowing buses. 

 At the all trade meeting with Mike Brown on Tuesday, our Orgs were fobbed off with "cannot talk about Uber license". 

This situation has been stage managed by TfL and aided by the Mayor. Uber should have had its license rightly revoked. It's a facade.

TfL claim they have to let Uber continue to operate while the appeal runs its course, this is not true. Under the Act of 1998 sec 26(2) they can revoke Uber’s licence in the same fashion they revoked Sean Stockings’ licence. Sean was thrown out of work for seven months while his appeal was taking place. 

TfL have allowed an illegal operation to continue, in blatant disregard to public safety, even though they knew up to one third of its drivers presented fake criminal record check DBS certificates. They've know this since last January and swept it under the carpet!

Every time TfL and another complicit Mayor makes a decision that is unjust and affects our trade, we must make TfL and the Mayor pay. 

We now have contact details of virtually ever news media service (with thanks to Dave Davies) and our volunteer media team, will be informing the media of any wrongdoings and future planned protests.


A single protest has no real effect. We cannot sit on our hands and hope bad people do right by us.

Our next targets may or may not be in the form of week long protests. We may protest state visits, every function Sadiq Khan or Theresa May attends, but one thing is clear, they will be high profile. 

Otherwise how do we make the world aware that TfL are selling off our lives to the highest bidder?

Our ultimate aim is to force Sadiq Khan to call on this Government for a transparent public inquiry into TfL's unhealthy relationship with Uber. We want all the old faces dragged back to be examined under oath. "Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done."
We will never give up! 
Those who give up, achieve nothing! 
We're in this for the long hall.

Everyday our friends are gathering evidence. At every opportunity we will strike to make the public and media aware of the amount of corruption that has led to TfL's criminal acts.

What our detractors fail to realise is we sacrificed our living to protest.  The leaflets, our placards, everything is paid by us. We don't collect subs. We don't get paid. 

We suffer for our cause.
We can't make drivers fight for their jobs, but collaboration with TfL is not an option.

The LCDC and GMB supported the protests, and the man whom is likely to lead the RMT branch was there everyday. 

 

No 'Sections' are in place to stop an Org wishing its participating members well, or stopping an Org leader from joining our protest as an individual cab driver.

TfL know exactly who we are. 
It's an open secret, we spoke openly to Chapman and Blake last year. 
 
Too many leaders accommodating TfL, giving TfL an easy time. Meetings merely gathering points where Org reps are told what to go back and tell their members.

 We need a few to stand and say 
"No! No this isn't happening! 
This is unacceptable”



TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT:

If you want to be kept up to date with what's happening forget the appeasers, forget the impudent orgs.....follow @ProactiveITA on Twitter. 


There's a reason 60% of the trade are not allied to an Org or Union. They feel disenfranchised. They see prospective leaders having cosy chats and appeasing TfL. 

How many of the 40% who are in an Org, are in it just for the (fragile) legal cover?

The fight for our jobs goes on.


Friday, January 19, 2018

The Fall of Travis Kalanick Was a Lot Weirder and Darker Than You Thought


A year ago, before the investor lawsuits and the federal investigations, before the mass resignations, and before the connotation of the word “Uber” shifted from “world’s most valuable startup” to “world’s most dysfunctional,” Uber’s executives sat around a hotel conference room table in San Francisco, trying to convince their chief executive officer, Travis Kalanick, that the company had a major problem: him.

The executives were armed that day with something unusual for Uber Technologies Inc.: the results of a survey. Kalanick operated by gut feeling and with a stubborn sense of how people should feel, not how they did. Jeff Jones, Uber’s new president and former chief marketing officer for Target Corp., wanted more substantial insights. 

Conclusions drawn from the survey were printed and hanging on the walls. About half the respondents had a positive impression of Uber and its convenient ride-hailing app. But if respondents knew anything about Kalanick, an inveterate flouter of both workplace conventions and local transportation laws, they had a decidedly negative view.

As usual with Kalanick, the discussion grew contentious. Jones and his deputies argued that Uber’s riders and drivers viewed the company as made up of a bunch of greedy, self-centered jerks. And as usual, Kalanick retorted that the company had a public-relations problem, not a cultural one.

Then a top executive excused herself to answer a phone call. A minute later, she reappeared and asked Kalanick to step into the hallway. Another executive joined them. They hunched over a laptop to watch a video that had just been posted online by Bloomberg News: grainy, black-and-white dashcam footage of Kalanick in the back seat of an UberBlack on Super Bowl weekend, heatedly arguing over fares with a driver named Fawzi Kamel.

“Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit!” Kalanick can be heard yelling at Kamel. “They blame everything in their life on somebody else!”

As the clip ended, the three stood in stunned silence. Kalanick seemed to understand that his behavior required some form of contrition. According to a person who was there, he literally got down on his hands and knees and began squirming on the floor. “This is bad,” he muttered. “I’m terrible.”

Then, contrition period over, he got up, called a board member, demanded a new PR strategy, and embarked on a yearlong starring role as the villain who gets his comeuppance in the most gripping startup drama since the dot-com bubble. It’s a story that, until now, has never been fully told.

   

Read full article here:

CASA Trained Compliance Officers Now Have New Powers To Stop And Inspect Vehicles

Until recently, the officers carried out road stops with the police while checking drivers’ licences and their vehicles. 


But with the number of licensed vehicles in London rapidly expanding, the officers have now been given new powers by the Metropolitan Police under the Community Safety and Accreditation Scheme (CSAS). This enables them to stop vehicles for inspection, testing and verification of licensing conditions, and the power

to demand the name and address of the driver.

If a driver fails to stop when directed by a CSAS-trained officer, it is a criminal offence and will be reported to the police and TPH for investigation and action.

Cliff Llewellyn, compliance manager at TPH, explains: ‘We have more officers on the streets now, with a higher visible presence carrying out our own road stops, letting the police get on with other things.

‘It’s a smarter way of working giving us an additional option to deal effectively with illegal activity and also allows us a wider coverage across London.’

The new road stops were introduced at Heathrow earlier this year and will be rolled out across London as more officers are trained and gain the relevant qualifications.


Under the new system, groups of six compliance officers cordon off a stop area which enables them to inspect both sides of the vehicle safely. Stops are carried out as quickly as possible so if there are any passengers on board, they are not held up unnecessarily.

Accredited officers have been issued with new CSAS hi-visibility jackets and so far drivers have welcomed this increase in compliance activity. 


Existing compliance officer powers:

• Can request a copy of the certificate of insurance for inspection

• Inspect a driver’s badge or photo ID

• Ask for a driver, vehicle or private hire operator licence for inspection

• Remove and retain a licence and vehicle plate/disc of a licence that has expired, or been suspended or revoked

• Request a vehicle to be inspected

New CSAS powers:

• Requiring a person’s name and address for road traffic offences or antisocial behaviour

• Stopping a vehicle for testing

• Controlling traffic 

• Stopping cycles 

Day 5 : ITA Exercising Our Right To Legitimate Protest. Biggest And Best So Far.


Yesterday's massive demonstration saw thousands of Taxis flock to London Bridge, with drivers protesting against TfL's reasons for allowing an illegal dangerous app to continue to function without a licence.

The protest was a fantastic success, the largest attendance so far. Drivers realising that the diplomatic route isn't working and now it's time for direct action. 


The venue London Bridge, was attacked in a pincer like operation, with Taxis coming up from Blackfriars station along Cannon Street and venturing south over the bridge. The second claw left Great Southwark Street and heading north across the bridge. 


As the sun began to set, the whole surrounding area was bought to complete gridlock. 
Police cordoned off access to the bridge to regular traffic, but Taxis were allowed through to join their colleagues on the protest. 


The police didn't try any underhanded tactics, and were behaved themselves, allowing drivers to protest unhindered. However a couple of TfL spy's were seen taking photos and notes.


So many Taxis turned up, they had to be diverted to a second assembly point, Tower Bridge, which was also soon bought to a standstill.

Today's Venue will be Aldwych 3:30pm

Lsten out on social media for any changes which may be made 👍


Well done everyone involved, let's make today the biggest and best attended so far. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sixth Former Political Students From Harrow: Sadiq Should Stand Down


ITN reporter that @SadiqKhan was accused of repeatedly failing to answer an important stop-and-search question: Can the mayor guarantee young, black men in London will not be targeted? 


BBC London News Reported:
Mayor's Question Time at City Hall descends into farce as hugely important subject of knife crime discussed. 



Sadiq Khan childly said, I'm the Mayor....your not!

Here is what the invited sixth form politic students thought of the Mayors debacle:
  
  
   

Judge paves way for taxi lawsuit Plate owners get green light to proceed with $215M class action over city's decision to allow Uber


judge has given Ottawa taxi plate owners the go-ahead to proceed with a lawsuit claiming the city's decision to allow Uber and similar companies to operate legally is discriminatory. 

Justice Robert Smith's decision, handed down Tuesday, acknowledges taxi drivers share the same concerns over the city's new rules. The ruling will allow members of the taxi industry to go ahead with a class action instead of pursuing the matter in court individually.

Uber began operating in Ottawa in 2014. In September 2016, the city amended its taxi bylaw by creating a new category of licence that legalized Uber's business model. 

Around this same time the taxi industry filed an uncertified class action against the City of Ottawa claiming $215 million in damages.

Claims of discrimination

The suit was filed by the parent company of Capital Taxi and Marc Andre Way, whose family is the single-largest owner of taxi plates in the city. It was the largest lawsuit ever filed against the city.

Taxi drivers claim the city is responsible for losses they suffered after Uber was legalized in Ottawa, according to an overview of the case. 

The plaintiffs allege that by welcoming Uber the city has discriminated against taxi drivers, many of whom are "members of minority groups." The plaintiffs also claim fees charged to them under the amended bylaw amount to illegal taxes. 

The city disagrees with the taxi industry's claims, but agreed with the court that a class action is the best way to proceed.

In its response to the lawsuit in 2016, the city said it has no obligation to protect the taxi industry from financial losses, and argued the claim of $215 million in damages is grossly exaggerated.

GMB victory over Amazon sees its delivery drivers paid £20,000 in backpay

AMAZON delivery drivers have won up to £20,000 each in back pay after their union challenged the online retailer’s use of bogus self-employment to deny them rights at work.

General union GMB represents many drivers employed by delivery firm UK Express, which delivers goods for Amazon.
UK Express used bogus self-employment to deny its employees their rights such as the minimum wage, holiday pay, sick pay, paid rest breaks and employment rights such as protection from unfair dismissal.
GMB challenged UK Express and the company backed down before the cases reached an employment tribunal.
The union said the victory meant some drivers would receive up to £20,000 in back pay.
Similar victories have been won against minicab transnational Uber and delivery firm DX, which used bogus self-employment to deny workers their rights.
GMB legal director Maria Ludkin said: “This is yet another brick in the road in GMB’s battle against bogus self-employment.
“Some employers seem to think they can avoid paying the minimum wage or giving their workers the protection to which they are entitled.
“However, as Amazon and UK Express have now realised, this is not optional — it’s the law.
“The drivers delivering for Amazon, like Uber drivers and delivery drivers for DX, are clearly employees and it is gratifying that the company are shelling out 100 per cent of the amounts claimed.
“GMB will continue to fight bogus self-employment wherever it appears.”
Source Morning Star.

Day 4 : ITA Press Release On Yesterday's Legitimate Mobile Protests.


THE AUTHORITIES WANTED TO DISRESPECT AND DISRUPT OUR RIGHT TO PROTEST IN ONE PLACE?


SO WE JUST MOVE IT TO ANOTHER VENUE.



WE CAN KEEP THIS UP ALL DAY, IF THATS WHAT THEY WANT.

Allow me to reiterate, the police (on the ground) were a credit to their uniform. 

The authorites who tried playing us at our own game today, were out of order. We will use our acumen to adapt and overcome any and all scenarios.

It appeared the police really didn’t have a clue once we moved on to Hyde Park Corner and then when they least expected it, we doubled back to Parliament Square.


It was so nice to see so many Taxi drivers full of the Dunkirk spirit.
Never, never, never surrender !

See you all tomorrow. 

London Bridge 3:30 pm

   


        TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BITS
Let's not forget, although sexual assaults and rapes by Uber drivers went up by 50% last year to 48 attacks, it's not just in London that Uber drivers are assaulting their passengers. 



Letter to the editor from David in Goa.

Im following the demo on Twitter from Goa. Fantastic stuff. 

But one tweet I noticed a short time ago ‘Feeder out to Newall Road’. 

They would rather sit in the Feeder for 6 hours than fight for their jobs. That is why I have no sympathy for the Heathrow drivers!




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Day 3 : ITA Protesting Against A Licensing Authority Refusing To Protect The Public


Yesterday's protest at Marble Arch was an overwhelming success. A big thank you to all the drivers who put themselves out to support their colleagues. The police used disruptive tactics by stoping protestors driving around Marble Arch and diverted Cabs southbound onto Park Lane.

At one point police stopped traffic entering Park Lane northbound but this soon backfired as traffic in SW1 came to a standstill.


Grosvenor Gate was closed by police out riders, but Curzon Gate remained accessible through most of he afternoon. The protest built up steadily with cabs arriving from all direction and soon traffic came to a standstill with surrounding areas gridlocked. 

TfL stopped the buses running, and for over two hours none were seen in Park Lane, Bayswater or Edgware Road. 

After the demo, the Met a Police issue threats to future protestors saying that any driver seen deliberately driving slow, stopping for no reason or wilfully obstructing others risk prosecution. They also warned that they have body worn cameras which would be used to gather evidence against us. 

           
 
Funny, no such warnings were issued to a banned terrorist group who were allowed to march across London and converge on Whitehall. It seems terrorists have more rights under European Human Rights laws than Cab drivers. 

But overall the support officers policing the protest were in good spirit. Their job is to do their best for both protesters and the public caught up in the insuring chaos. The organisers felt a good balance was achieved, in spite of the disruptive measures which actually backfired and helped spread out the protest. 


Day Three:
Today's legitimate protest location is Parliament Square at the earlier time of 12 o/c midday for Prime Minister's Question Time. 
We can expect the police to try to disrupt with diversions again, so please turn in to social media and WhatsApp groups for information. 



The fight goes on....Long Live The Taxi Trade 



TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT:

Why have the other orgs remained silent about the driver led protests in Central London.

The LCDC Chairman and Committee members were happy to attend.


Are the LTDA UCG RMT alliance scare of upsetting TfL?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Day Two Of The Driver Led Proactive ITA Series Of Protests.


Militant drivers will be holding a mass ply for hire this afternoon at Marble Arch, 3:30 pm. 

It is hoped that we will achieve the same turnout this afternoon as yesterday. 

Prelude to a Predestrianised Oxford Street!
The protest will have the same list of grievances as Mondays protest, but with the added bonus....a forewarning to Westminster Council, TfL and Sadiq Khan, of the utter chaos that will ensue following the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street.

Unless affirmative action is taken by TfL to address the issue forthwith, the protests will continue til Friday 19th January, and intermittently thereafter.

Policing was light to begin with on day one at the Elephant, but as the week goes on, it's expected there may be a more heavy handed approach. So let's not give them any reason to pull us.
 

  • Lights on....mass ply for hire
  • Lights off, seat-belts should be worn 
  • Try not to touch your phones while driving

We've been informed that TfL are asking protesting drivers to reconsider their actions, but truth is, they have offered nothing to reconsider about.

Sect. 26 (2) of the PHV ACT 1998, gives TfL the right to immediately revoke Uber's operating licence. 

The licensed taxi trade, via The ITA, call for the immediate, and unconditional revocation of Uber’s licence.

Never, never, never....give in.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT: 

What the Standard Said ...


London taxi drivers descended on Elephant and Castle as part of a series of protests this week against TfL and Uber.

The protests, in response to TfL's reasons for revoking Uber’s licence and the minicab firm’s continued operation in London, are set to take place throughout the week in the capital.

On Monday afternoon the busy Elephant and Castle roundabout was brought to a standstill by black cabs, causing traffic chaos in the surrounding area.

TfL tweeted that all approaches to Elephant and Castle were affected.

It advised motorists to use other routes.

Meanwhile buses serving the area were diverted or terminated earlier than usual.

One person tweeted: What's going on in Elephant and Castle, been parked up for 30 mins."

Another added: "Big black cab protest at Elephant and Castle. Roads blocked and big delays."

A TfL spokesman said: "The law stipulates that operators can continue until any appeals process is exhausted. 

(Obviously they haven read their own legislation PHV act 1998 sec 26(2), editor)

“We urge the organisers to call the protests off."

Further protests will take place on Tuesday at 3.30pm in Marble Arch, on Wednesday at 12pm in Parliament Square, on Thursday at 3.30pm in London Bridge, with a final protest on Friday which is to be announced.

Monday, January 15, 2018

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ITA LEGITIMATE PROTEST: LICENSED TAXI DRIVERS AGAINST TfL


The week commencing 15th January the licensed taxi trade will stage a series of peaceful protests against Transport for London (TFL). The protest is due to TfL’s passivity in dealing with illegal activity and the disregard they have for the safety of the travelling public.

Unless affirmative action is taken by TfL to address the issue forthwith, the protests will continue til Friday 19th January, and intermittently thereafter.


TfL has published a 21-page letter stating that it found the company’s central computer accepted a booking only after a driver had done so. 

The process fundamentally changes the way a Private Hire Driver can be accessed, stating, “the point is determinative and that Uber’s current operating model is accordingly unlawful”.

The ITA – an umbrella pressure group made up of 5000+ individual black cabs drivers who have been effected directly by the illegal activity- firmly believe the judgement should be overturned and proceedings brought against senior Uber managers for perjury.


Even though Uber is deemed ‘Not Fit and Proper’ to operate in the Capital they continue to do so pending an appeal. As far as we’re concerned, nothing has changed except Uber can now operate and is exempt from paying the Operator Licence fee.

This is inaction by TfL is unacceptable. No other company would be granted diplomatic immunity in the same way as Uber has. Playing lip-service does nothing to address the illegality of their operation or ensure public safety. A strong message needs to be sent by TfL so other companies who might consider entering the market need to abide by the prevailing legislation. 

Evidently, not doing so has grave consequences.

    
       
Further allegations involve Uber not reporting to the authorities a series of sex attacks by its drivers where at least one case resulted in the attacker striking again. In the year to February 2017, Scotland Yard recorded 48 alleged sexual assaults by Uber drivers, most of which were reported by passengers. Others allegations were made through Transport for London (TfL), the capital's regulator.

Why did TfL not follow these allegations up sooner? Why did they wait until a senior Met Police Office expressed his concern? Failure to report public order cases meant it was too late to prosecute by the time word reached police. 

Surely, to not follow up these allegations, or trusting a corporation -whose T&C state that they are not responsible for the behaviour of the driver- to do what is ‘fit and proper’ is abdicating their regulatory duties to maintain standard based practices.

ITA insist on questions being answered regarding the initial licensing of Uber. Jo Bertram (previous Vice President for the UK & Nordics), is quoted at the time of saying, “Uber passed TfL’s most stringent and comprehensive audit of a Private Hire Operator to date passing with flying colours. We cannot however, find any documentation of this in-depth audit or who conducted it?



Further concerns are that TfL allowed Uber to conduct medical examinations of new drivers over the internet, and fast track criminal checks on its own drivers, a process that was supposed to be carried out independently. Meanwhile, due to the vast number of PH licenses having to be processed

Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) were struggling to renew taxi driver licenses on time. Sometimes seeing delays of up to 4 months

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1897962/investigation- reveals-dodgy-gps-getting-cash-to-help-minicab-and-uber- drivers-fake-medical-test-over-fitness-to-drive/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4848046/Uber- drivers-apply-new-criminal-record-checks.html

Although the emphasis focuses on TfL’s relationship with Uber, the consequences of that relationship have been severely shouldered by the taxi trade for nearly six years, much of which has gone unreported by the mainstream press.

Therefore, under Sect. 26 (2) of the PHV ACT, the licensed taxi trade, via The ITA, call for the immediate, and unconditional revocation of Uber’s licence.

ITA Liaison Correspondent

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BITS: