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Charlie Mullins; talking black cabs, Uber and the gig economy with TaxiPoint

“This morning (Wednesday) I had a great chat with Steve Kenton, one of the editors at TaxiPoint, the online taxi trade magazine – who was interested on my take on all things London. I mean, the first topic hot on the list was of course Uber. “I’ve never been shy in saying how much I disagree with the operating principles of Uber. You would have to be a blind man not to realise that some the people in the driver's seats of Uber vehicles don't have legally obtained UK driving licences. They are traffic menaces, and there is no way some of the people actually doing the driving have personally passed a UK test. 

“Either way the whole situation puts passengers at risk, and it was great to discuss measures I would take, or the changes I would implement if I was London Mayor.

“Hearing the troubles that Taxi drivers have on the roads of London, was incredibly insightful. It doesn’t take much common sense to see how desperate the situation has become on the roads of London, but it was great to soundboard ideas off Steve, and hear how my concepts would be greeted with a friendly nod. “Another topic we discussed was the issue of self-employed workers. “I’ve said it before but, in recent times, my company has been strongly associated (and demonised) by the term ‘gig economy’, and talking to Steve, I highlighted that we must not confuse the way I run and operate my business, with the likes of Uber and Deliveroo. “The fact is, it seems like the knives are out for all sorts of good employers like Pimlico Plumbers, just because there are some halfwits out there who mistreat their drivers, couriers, or whatever you’d like to call them. And the reason they are guilty of treating their workers badly, and this is the key difference between them and us, and all other good employers in the so called gig economy, is that they don’t pay their contractors well enough to subsidise from the rights of a worker. “Steve was interested in whether I would be up for working with the Government to help clear this confusion up – and the answer is of course I would. We already begun by submitting evidence to the Matthew Taylor report – and I hope to get involved more on this because the entire debate of workers’ rights, confuses the highly paid independent contractors, on proper contracts, like my engineers at Pimlico, with people who aren’t earning a proper living wage on zero hour contracts. I agree, and always have agreed that zero hour contracts are the work of the devil, but the gig economy does need some tidying up, and what I’m saying is the law should crack down very hard on companies that are paying low wages plus not providing employment benefits, but it should also allow businesses who are prepared to financially compensate workers very well for these benefits, to do so without prosecution and demonisation. “All in all it was a great chat, with so much to talk about – and I look forward to being in touch with Steve in the future, when I kick off my mayoral campaign, to hear the views of a true Londoner.  

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