Age Limits off Limits ? by John Kennedy, Chair RMT London taxi branch.

Age Limits off Limits ? by John Kennedy, Chair RMT London taxi branch.

Could you make it up ? Well yes you could for are dealing with the London taxi trade and all the interested parties who seemed to have forgotten about you the taxi-cab driver. Now recently a picture of many people who hold certain positions of responsibility was taken and much was made of the fact that the Taxi trade had offered the Mayor of London a 15 year age limit for taxi-cabs. Now can I make this clear from the start the RMT was included in the consultation but we were not invited to the workshops because some trade organisations and TFL/TPH don’t seem to like us or to put it bluntly fear a well organised union that stands up for its members.

We at the RMT London taxi branch debated the issue of age limits and then we responded to the consultation document and informed TFL/the Mayor WE DO NOT AGREE to AGE LIMITS FOR TAXI-CABS. The Department for Transport believes in natural wastage and the vast majority of London taxi-cabs do not get past the age of 12 years. Now I can understand radio circuits wanting new shiny taxi-cabs but let’s be honest they can introduce a policy that restricts the age of a taxi-cab if they wish. We can also understand dealerships and manufacturers seeking an age limit for they will increase sales but again let’s be honest they can offer you and I incentives to purchase shiny brand new cleaner/greener taxi-cabs by reducing the price of the very vehicles they sell/make. Now what I can’t understand is the so called democratic “mothers union” rule book associations LTDA/LCDC and the union UNITE offering an age limit of 15 years. Once you offer an age limit you accept the principle of an age limit and if we the trade are lumbered with an age limit let me make it clear it will be because the LTDA/LCDC and the union UNITE offered one to the Mayor.

The RMT London taxi branch said NO to an age limit because our members said NO to an age limit, shame those who sit at the TFL “foldaway table” buckle at the first hurdle and then try to hide behind pointless articles based on past opposition in the hope the average taxi-cab driver won’t realise that they along with the residual value of your taxi-cab, have been sold down the river by the United Trade Group consisting of the LTDA (leaders) and followed by UNITE the union and the LCDC (followers). If the Mayor sees sense and backs off an age limit it will be because the RMT where the only trade union/org capable and able to put a decent argument forward on behalf of its members. The Mayor has indicated to the RMT London taxi branch that he is looking at ways of mitigating the cost of new vehicles by lobbying government re the cost of vehicle excise duty (tax disc) and a possible scrappage scheme.

We look forward to the announcement by the Mayor and hope that he along with many others understand that you cannot blame the London taxi-cab driver for the failings of TFL and undemocratic trade organisations within our trade. This like many other issues should be subject to “one badge one vote” and not left in the hands of people who very rarely consult with their membership. If you join the RMT you don’t just get a voice and a vote you get the chance to save the world’s finest taxi trade…

John Kennedy, Chair RMT London taxi branch.

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