In what can only be described as a monumental decision, the High Court has granted permission for the The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) to launch a Judicial Review against Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's plan to impose congestion charging on the private hire industry on the grounds that it discriminates against and breaches the human rights of a mainly BAME workforce.
The IWGB have argued that the introduction of the £11.50 congestion charge on minicab drivers is a case of indirect discrimination under the Equality Act. The charge is being imposed on a workforce that is mainly BAME (94% of London's 107,000 minicab drivers are BAME according to TFL), while black cab drivers, who are mostly white, continue to be exempt.
They union have also argued that the policy is also in breach of a number of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights that cover discrimination, property rights, right to a family life and ability to carry out a profession.
The IWGB has launched a crowdfund campaign on Crowdjustice to raise £50,000 to finance the legal challenge and assembled a legal team which includes renowned discrimination barristers Ben Collins QC,Nadia Motraghi and Tara O'Halloran of Old Square Chambers.
Todays decision is the culmination of several weeks of protests by minicab drivers, who are demanding that the congestion charge be scrapped, as it represents an unfair burden on their already stretched budgets. The protests have seen hundreds of drivers block a number of major roads and bridges in the capital.
The union has proposed a number of alternatives to this policy, including a cap on the total number minicab driver licenses, a levy on minicab operators such as Uber and Viavan, and the enforcement of worker rights by Transport for London (TfL)
The Independent Workers of Great Britain Union is seen as the leading union for precarious workers. It has taken legal action against Uber, Deliveroo and several other so-called gig economy employers. Last year it organised the first nation-wide strike of Uber drivers.
The hearing is set to take place on 9 and 10 July.
Image source/ author IWGB