Jas Sandhu

BREAKTHROUGH: UPHD at last engaged on trade compliance

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On a bi monthly basis TfL conducts a compliance review meeting with private hire operators and the police but has always refused to recognise us or any other dedicated private hire driver trade union or representative body. Tonight, we dedicated our branch meeting to reviewing safety and risk compliance in driver operations and invited Inspector Jas Sandhu of the Metropolitan Police Cab Enforcement Unit and Helen Chapman, Head of TfL Taxi and Private Hire. Inspector Sandhu graciously accepted our invite and attended this evening. This in itself is a significant milestone marking the first time the Cab Enforcement Unit has taken the time to engage directly with dedicated driver representative unions. Ms Chapman did not respond to our invite nor did she show up.

Nevertheless, the meeting was an amazing success with UPHD and the Met Police CEU entering a unique, historic agreement. Now, for the first time, minicab drivers in London will have have direct, dedicated, and formally recognised trade union representation with the Metropolitan Police Cab Enforcement Unit. While TfL continues to impose a ban on stakeholder recognition for dedicated private hire driver trades union, we can work around this impediment by engaging directly with the police on a bilateral basis to cover the same compliance review in the same bi monthly time frame.

This is a significant victory, not only for minicab drivers who now at last have a channel to raise important compliance matters, but also for Londoners who use our services.  Having an avenue of positive engagement towards improving the safety, security and quality of our service is great news for our customers too.

Safety, risk and compliance management in the private hire industry is fundamentally broken. Private hire operators are desperate not to assume liability for driver operations or to trigger an employment relationship by providing drivers with safety training or implementing a safety & risk management system. At the same time the TfL private hire stakeholder process has been mortally compromised through capture by corporate interests. The result has been a disaster for driver worker rights and public safety.

Now we have a real opportunity to make progress towards improving safety, security and compliance with the driver community working directly with the police, even if we must resort to doing so in isolation from the regulator. Of course, our door remains open to TfL should it ever decide to change its engagement policy.

We thank Inspector Jas Sandhu for joining our meeting tonight, for his sincerity in taking on board our compelling survey results and for his firm commitment to formal engagement going forward.

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