Union talks on minicab driver safety and welfare with Leeds City Council fail.
Mad Friday minicab protest to go ahead tonight from 11pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2012 14:40
Today officials from the Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation, part of the IWGB Union, met with Leeds City Council officials in an effort to head off a minicab driver protest demonstration scheduled for tonight. Unfortunately, due to Leeds City Council intransigence and refusal to recognise the serious safety and welfare concerns raised by the union, talks have failed, and the demonstration will now go ahead from 11pm.
The union raised objections to a recent Leeds City Council decision to target blanket enforcement against drivers who have a legal right to use bus stops to pick up passengers during overnight hours. Now, all drivers are presumed guilty and must take on the incredible burden of having to constantly provide booking records, after the fact, to get wrongfully issued penalty charge notices rescinded.
The only ludicrous concession offered by the Council was that drivers could use city public libraries to copy their booking records and send images of the same to the Council.
The union also raised the critical issue of the link between vehicle livery with driver worker rights abuses and risk to public safety but again no progress was made. Recently, drivers have been victims of targeted attacks on liveried vehicles yet the response from the Council and West Yorkshire Police has been wholly inadequate.
In addition, the Council maintains an unfair rule that drivers can only work for one operator at a time, must carry livery/advertising for the operator and pay a fee to the Council to get permission for the privilege of switching to another operator.
Zahid Mahmood, Vice Chair of the Leeds Private Drivers Organisation of the IWGB Union said:
“We are bitterly disappointed that we are left with no alternative but to go ahead and demonstrate tonight on what should be one of the most lucrative work nights of the whole year. We made a number of reasonable suggestions to the Council on how this could be resolved for the benefit of the travelling public and drivers alike, but this was nothing more than a dialogue of the deaf. I’d like to apologise in advance to the travelling public who may be inconvenienced during holiday celebrations, but we can no longer compromise on safety.”
James Farrar, national Chair of the Private Hire Drivers branch of the IWGB union said:
“For years Leeds City Council have systematically excluded minicab driver license payers from the regulatory development process while maintaining a cozy relationship with private hire operators. The Council’s intransigence on livery policy & mandating a one operator rule for drivers is now placing lives at risk. The policy also means that Leeds City Council is fostering the exploitation of drivers that has become common place in the gig economy. We expect better from a public licensing authority.”
Yaseen Aslam, Founder of the Private Hire Drivers branch of the IWGB union said:
“It is regrettable that the Council has previously made misleading statements to the press that it has offered ‘generous concessions’ to drivers when it simply has not done so and did not do so today. Drivers, most of whom earn far below the national minimum wage, are not asking for ‘concessions’, they are simply asking for the Council to enable them to do their job safely and to protect them from workplace exploitation.”
Zahid Mahmood, Vice Chair of the Leeds Private Hire Drivers branch of the IWGB union
James Farrar, National Chair of the Private Hire Drivers Branch of the IWGB union
Yaseen Aslam, Founder of the Private Hire Drivers branch of the IWGB union
1. United Private Hire Drivers branch of the IWGB Union is the largest dedicated trade union for private hire drivers in the UK. The national branch was founded by James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam who are also lead claimants in the successful workers rights claim against Uber, Aslam and Farrar v Uber. https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/
2. The IWGB union is the defacto trade union for the gig economy in the UK representing private hire drivers, couriers, cleaners, care workers and others.
3. In December 2016, Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee declared private hire drivers we were working in sweatshop conditions. http://www.frankfield.co.uk/