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Campaign alliance formed with London Black Cab drivers

2 March 2012

In the aftermath of the successful campaign to protect jobs at Transport for London's Taxi and Private Hire Department, TSSA has entered into a campaigning alliance with three major London Black Cab driver associations.

Taxi Agreement

Showing how core industrial organisation can open the way to public-facing community organising opportunities, the historic alliance brings together TSSA licensing workers with cab drivers around a series of shared and public concerns.

Last November TfL announced the imminent privatisation of their licensing and inspections department, prompting a rapid response by TSSA members from across TfL.

The plans would have moved most posts to the Midlands or lost them entirely, including job losses amongst the small team of inspectors who were scheduled to remain in London.

These staff are key to enforcing the London Mayor’s Safer Travel at Night Scheme, that seeks to stop sexual assaults by unlicensed private hire drivers. In 2009/10 there were 143 sexual assaults in unlicensed private hire cabs, yet since the launch of the scheme over 6000 unlicensed cab drivers have been arrested, reducing the danger to women passengers.

Working with the LTDA, LCDC and the Unite cab branch, TSSA was able to bring sufficient pressure to bear on TfL that the proposed outsourcing was withdrawn the evening before it was due to be approved at the TfL Board. The company, however, announced that it would review staffing in the department, so maintaining the potential for job losses and consequent safety fears.

Recognising that a threat to public safety remained, TSSA and the three black cab driver associations have now signed a statement of principles that seeks to promote and enhance public safety by ensuring that the LTPH Department is properly staffed and the number of key inspectors increased.

In signing the alliance statement, Manuel Cortes said: ‘This is an historic moment that brings together representatives of the workers and the taxi trade in the shared interests of both. Together we are stronger and have already proved what we can do in our mutual self interest.’
 

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