Updated: Oct 2, 2022
Stansted Airport's private hire drivers are considering industrial action as high commission rates and vehicle rental costs become untenable.
Drivers working under Stansted Airport’s contracted operator StreetCars, are said to be ‘at the end of their tether’ having found fares and incomes drop since a change of contractor.
The problems focus on StreetCars' commission rates which sit at a huge 45.5%. Drivers also pay between £700 and £900 a month to rent the vehicles on top of fuel and insurance. The GMB Union say rates are not keeping pace with driver’s expenses or inflation.
According to union sources, one driver who drove for StreetCars was told that because his vehicle is just a few months over 4 years old he couldn’t work for the company. The driver who is self-funding a replacement has found that the current lack of availability of brand-new cars hasn’t provided him with any empathy from the company. This has caused concerns for other drivers using their own vehicles who fear being in the same situation.
Cenk Kasakci, Streetcar driver’s representative, said: “Promises made by management are merely empty attempts to silence drivers’ concerns. Many drivers have worked from the airport for years and worked under the previous operator but never saw such behaviour. It’s hard enough to manage the current cost of living crisis with the knowledge that StreetCars are currently offering £1,000 to recruit new joiners without considering existing drivers who cannot make ends meet.
“We are at the end of our tether. Promises are made but habitually broken, management behaviours must change.”
Steve Garelick, GMB London Region Officer, said: “StreetCars’ senior management has avoided all engagement with GMB, even citing that they have been advised not to talk to us by their solicitors, despite a previous recognition agreement being in place with its predecessor 24/7.
“We note that StreetCars is furious at being challenged over issues, but drivers at Stansted are not being listened to at a time when many workers across the UK are taking the stand that enough is enough, workers at Amazon is one such example. If a ballot goes ahead and there is a consensus for industrial action the airport and passengers will be affected.
“Being anti trade union is a common trait with taxi and private hire operators but we take on the fight, as GMB has proven with many companies in this sector. In the end, companies see that working with GMB provides positive benefits for both the operator and the drivers. It’s time for StreetCars to invite GMB to negotiations if they wish to avoid a ballot for industrial action.”