Motion passed by WBDTUC October 2018 in support of UNITE taxi drivers after Alan Lewis spoke at our delegate meeting was discussed by the Midlands TUC Executive Committee and we have received a response from Wolverhampton Council Leader.
Wolverhampton Bilston and District Trades Union Council condemns City of Wolverhampton Council for utilising Tory deregulation legislation in a way which harms the taxi industry; for example City of Wolverhampton Council has issued thousands of licences to drivers for use outside Wolverhampton in particular for Uber which apparently uses Wolverhampton due to its lower thresholds for operators and vehicles and lower licence prices, and which is contributing to the undermining of earnings of taxi drivers and threatens the future of the wheelchair accessible hackney carriages and private hire cabs bearing in mind that taxis are an integral part of our public transport system particularly late at night when other services shutdown.
Moreover Uber appears to be challenging safety due to its apparent lack of vehicle age restriction and its apparent disregard for the total hours per week its drivers work (for Uber and at another job), thereby potentially breaching the weekly limit set in the Working Time Regulations.
Uber is running its business as a loss, apparently in order to drive out competition via a race to the bottom for standards.
We therefore call on all trade unionists and others to defend our taxi services and not to use Uber.
We call on City of Wolverhampton Council to work with other West Midlands local authorities to:
1. agree high quality standards for taxi operators and drivers and fair licence prices across the West Midlands for taxi operators.
2. lobby national politicians to reverse the Tory legislation that:
(a) allows drivers to get licences from Local Authorities where they do not work
(b) allows operators to get licences from Local Authorities where they seldom operate
(c) prevents Local Authorities from setting a cap on the number of hackney carriage and private hire licences issued and operating in their area
09 January 2019
Many thanks for your motion which went to the Regional Executive at the end of last year and my apologies for the short delay in responding.
As I said when you sent the motion through the most efficient way to deal with it was to put it to the first available meeting, which we did, the outcome of our discussions was as follows;
- There was unanimous support for the large part of the motion
- The only area of disagreement centred on the call to not use Uber. This was raised by the GMB who are currently attempting to organise Uber drivers, it was felt that a call to boycott could alienate the workers who the GMB are targeting.
- The call to lobby politicians to reverse legislation will be taken forward by me and raised during our Parliamentary meetings with the Midlands Parliamentary Labour Party.
Regional Secretary Midlands TUC
Birmingham councillor calls to boycott Wolverhampton private hire drivers who operate in Birmingham. (Nov 18) https://www.expressandstar.com/news/local-hubs/wolverhampton/2018/11/07/call-for-birmingham-boycott-over-row-on-wolverhampton-licenced-cabs/
Drivers for taxi app Addison Lee are workers and not self-employed, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled in a ‘huge win’ for workers’ rights. The ruling was hailed by the trade union GMB, which noted that drivers are legally entitled to holiday pay and the minimum wage.(Nov 18) https://metro.co.uk/2018/11/14/addison-lee-loses-tribunal-fight-with-drivers-over-workers-rights-8138726/
Taxi drivers protest at Wolverhampton council over Uber licensing
Thursday 28 June 2018 - Taxi drivers from Coventry caused disruption in the centre of Wolverhampton to protest over the council’s issuing of Uber licences.
The drivers are alarmed that Wolverhampton council has issued thousands of licences to Uber drivers, allowing them to operate in Coventry, bypassing that council’s rules and licensing regime.
The Conservatives’ Deregulation Act means that drivers and operators no longer have to be in the same area. Therefore an Uber driver receiving a licence in Wolverhampton is allowed to operate anywhere in the UK.
The protest which will coincide with lunchtime traffic is set to cause congestion on the city’s roads.
The number of Uber drivers operating in Coventry is threatening the livelihoods of fully licensed taxi drivers in the city who have to comply with a large number of criteria and regulations, which the Uber drivers can ignore.
Unite regional officer Alan Lewis said: “Coventry taxi drivers who play by the rules are facing having their livelihoods cut from under them by the unthinking actions of Wolverhampton council.
“The Conservative government has paved the way for indiscriminate councils to freely issue licences to Uber and other organisations which directly undermine strict taxi standards in other neighbouring councils.
“Wolverhampton council needs to end the race to the bottom, immediately stop this practice and withdraw licences for drivers not based in their area.”