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Harry Wall; Make a stand

Harry Wall, a licensed London taxi driver, has his say on the up and coming 'Make a Stand' action on 25th September. 

"Last December I was interviewed on London Taxi Radio where I protested about the lacklustre fight most of the trade organisations were putting up against Transport for London and Uber. Other than fruitless meetings, I could see nothing tangible was being done by any of the representatives to show us as a trade deserving of respect.

I also said they needed to show some backbone. Soon after, I was invited back on the show as a guest when trade matters were discussed by UCG, LCDC and RMT leaders. I asked why they didn't go after John Mason as many still question why Uber received a licence in the first place. Needless to say I didn't get an answer as my question and presence wasn't a comfort. 

Since then I've regularly posted my thoughts on social media and always called for firm action by the various trade leaders in meetings with TfL, direct action where necessary and a firm undertaking by all orgs to stand together for the sake of us, the drivers they represent. 

I've regularly warned of the dangers complacency brings and of allowing missed opportunities to become common practice, not once was I or other advocates of similar thoughts listened to and has now lead us to a position of desperation. We all know what needs to be done as a unified trade but we've never been listened to, never been considered and in my opinion never will be.

Nine months later, our fate lies in the hands of the same people I warned against in December and nothing's changed in my opinion.  Every week a bombshell comes to light regarding the high profile friendships, cover-ups, sneaky emails trying to manage bad press and endless accounts of deviant behaviour by Uber drivers allegedly ignored by officials. The latest being 13,000 Uber drivers driving without the adequate DBS checks who've been given 28 days to rectify the situation. Would taxi drivers receive such leniency if the roles were reversed?

Most feel Uber function on a questionable licence and business model. The crimes committed by its drivers are well documented so why is it allowed to continue?

The corporate pound note, in my opinion, is all forgiving, that's why.

But that doesn't mean we should be, but our silence gives another impression. The only fight we see from the trade organisations is constantly on display on social media as seen in recent weeks. It's like a permanent power struggle with infighting clear for the world to see. Most of them insulting each other and battling for trade supremacy as if it matters, forgetting their petty arguments and egos mean that nothing to us when we're working longer hours with little family time. 

This has to stop but somehow I can't see it happening. It's come to my attention that some drivers are becoming increasingly tired of this behaviour and direction, they want more. A driver lead national day of action has been decided upon and for the first time in our history taxis are being asked to join with private hire drivers in an effort to maximise the effect.

It's also endorsed by the GMB.

It's our chance to make our own stand where others have failed. From what I'm told the last straw was the deafening silence that followed The Daily Mail revelations, but more recently Inspector Billany's letter and last week's DBS discovery. It seems no amount of proof of wrongdoing and possible malfeasance is enough to bring about change, nor will it prompt action and that's the problem.

There is no direction planned, this is a chance for all of us to make a stand in our own way. It's a case of organising and coordinating among ourselves with the only guidelines being to behave like the professionals we all are and to act within the constraints of the law at all times. One day of action won't solve our many complex problems and damaged trade but in order to begin the process of repair we must first force decision makers to take us seriously and listen, which in my opinion none of the organisations have managed to secure.

The last few years have taken its toll on people and it's a case of enough is enough. Driver lead action has now become a reality which is something the authorities are equally desperate to avoid as its uncontrollable, despite the threat of revocation of licenses which has been a successful tool used to control us along with being safe in the knowledge of an inadequate record of missed opportunities to make our voices heard.

However, the constant "Big news Monday" with nothing happening Tuesday has had its day and the tide has turned. It's a day for you to make your voice heard, to protect your future and to stand shoulder to shoulder with legitimate Private Hire drivers in order to shout louder than before and make a difference for yourself instead of burying your head in the sand and hoping someone does it for you. 

Forget trade differences for this one day, argue later if we make a loud enough noise. Together we must stand firm and say no to the corruption and wilful destruction of our livelihoods throughout the country, demand Uber's license be denied, the business model outlawed and those responsible for our 5 years of torment brought to book wherever they are, it can't be tolerated anymore. The success of this day depends solely on the will to make it work, your will to protect your job and your family. It must be considered a watershed moment for us all and approached with the utmost common sense and intent to forget all our differences for 6 hours and put our families interests first and foremost.

It can work if we want it to but we have to be grown up, adult and make it work. Men have spent hours gathering proof and evidence of guilt, corruption and all sorts of wrongdoing, managed to get it in the media only for lead figures to allow it to be forgotten.

The 25th September is MAKE A STAND day.

Make it our day.

Make it work."

If you want your voice heard contact TaxiPoint today. We cover all corners of the trade and want your opinions whatever they may be.

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