Unite defends London Mayor saying “disgraceful behaviour must stop” after taxi driver confrontation

Unite Union has jumped to defend the Mayor of London saying the “disgraceful behaviour must stop” after angry taxi drivers confronted the Mayor yesterday.

The statement from Unite London and Eastern cab section comes as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, faced angry calls from cab drivers shouting “give us back our streets” prior to a key transport meeting today.

Khan was on his way to face questions put forward by the London Assembly on the topic of the capital’s transport.

In a video shared online strong language can be heard directed at Khan as he entered the capital’s City Hall. One protester called Khan the “destroyer of London”, whilst another was heard saying “give us back our streets”.

Frustration continues to grow within the industry as road space and access is removed.

Unite’s London and Eastern cab section said in an open statement: “Unite London and Eastern cab section totally condemns the abusive behaviour of London cab drivers outside City Hall yesterday, whose behaviour only brings the London cab trade into disrepute.

“While Unite understands the anger of many drivers at the downturn in trade during the COVID-19 pandemic and the slow return to acceptable working levels, this small minority do not represent the majority of hard-working taxi drivers.

“Sadiq Khan has been more responsive to the trade than his Tory predecessor. TfL has just announced that taxis will continue to be included in all bus lanes on TfL roads which are switching to 24/7 use.

“Sadiq also put in place £42m to help with decommissioning older taxis. Taxis continue to be exempt from both the congestion charge and ULEZ.

“TfL, with Sadiq as Mayor, has refused to renew Uber’s licence in London, something Boris Johnson never dared do.

“It was the present Tory government which withdrew funding for TfL in June, which could lead to major transport infrastructure being mothballed.

“While many of the recent prohibitions on vehicle use on London’s streets are clearly too draconian, most of these changes have been implemented by local councils in London, not TfL.

“Sadiq has also been at the forefront of implementing measures to keep the travelling public safe since the COVID-19 pandemic devastated London in March.

“Behaviour of this type is simply wrong and will only alienate Londoners; it is counter-productive.

“The London taxi trade is faced with a perfect storm of events beyond its control. The type of disgraceful behaviour witnessed outside City Hall on Thursday must stop. It is not an answer to the London taxi trades problems and the drivers involved have no mandate for their actions.”

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