Peugeot have recently taken over General Motors Europe, which includes Vauxhall Motors UK and has brought into question whether those working for Vauxhall will keep their jobs or if Peugeot will relocate the vehicle manufacturing to somewhere else in Europe?
Vauxhall employs around 4000 people manufacturing cars in the UK and obviously there is great concern over possible job losses, which cannot and should not be ignored.
Recently the Port Talbot steel works was all over the news as it was threatened with closure as the parent company Tata were looking to close the works as they claim that Port Talbot could not compete with cheap steel coming from Countries like China.
Port Talbot employs around 12000 people making steel and there was an enormous outcry that these jobs needed to be saved, there were shouts that the Government should step in and make sure that the steel workers did not lose their jobs.
Port Talbot attracted massive media coverage due to its possible closure; there was not a day go past without a news item either on the TV or in the press regarding Port Talbot.
Both of these industries have a combined workforce of around 16,000 workers who were threatened with job losses and unemployment.
There are just under 25,000 London Taxi Drivers, plus the industries that support the Taxi Trade in London which includes garages, insurance brokers, advertising companies, card processing companies, fleet owners, Taxi manufacturers, component suppliers & meter rental companies to name just a few.
The London Taxi Trade supports around 35,000 workers if not more, the support industries rely totally on the London Taxi driver to obtain their income, without the drivers these support industries basically have no income and therefore no business.
Drivers in London are under increasing pressure from Private Hire companies using app-based technology to reduce the lead-time for a booking down to, in Leon Daniels words, a Nano Second. The time decrease in passengers having to wait for a car essentially means that these private hire vehicles are now available for immediate hire hence challenging the traditional and legal domain on the Black Cabbies.
Also with their reduced running costs, and cheap labour these app companies are able to offer their services a lot cheaper than the London Taxi drivers. Taxi Drivers in London are compelled to buy only the vehicles approved for use by Transport for London, these vehicles currently cost in excess of £44,000 and the price is due to increase with the release of the new TX5 Electric Taxi.
The fares charged by Taxis in London is also set by Transport for London using a formula that calculates the cost of running a Taxi in London and a reasonable profit. Taxi drivers cannot charge more than the metered fare but they can of course charge less, but by charging less they would be running a very expensive vehicle in an uneconomical environment.
The Taxi Trade in London has a very long history dating back to 1654 when the first Hackney Coachmen were licensed by decree of Oliver Cromwell, drivers have served London and it’s travelling public for over 360 years.
To obtain a license to drive a London Taxi you have to undertake the most stringent topographical knowledge test anywhere in the World, which can take the potential driver anywhere from 2.5 years upwards to complete with no financial support whilst doing so.
The vehicles are also subject to the highest regulations to be found anywhere in the World, every London Taxi has to be able to accommodate a passenger in a wheelchair and also incorporates many other enhancements to assist those with an impairment.
After 363 years of serving London, the Taxi Trade is facing fierce competition from these app based private hire companies threatening its very existence as drivers find it increasingly harder the attain a reasonable living even while working increasingly longer hours.
35,000 jobs are threatened right here in the Capital, and yet we have not seen any media coverage of this threat to loss of jobs, there has been no outcry that the London Taxi driver must be saved, no-one has called for Government intervention to help save one of our Countries most historic and famous industries, in fact quite the opposite has happened!
Whenever Taxi drivers take industrial action to protest against anything that affects our trade there appears to be a media blackout, we see very little coverage on the TV or in the main stream press, Taxi drivers have brought London to a complete standstill and yet nothing is mentioned of major industrial action right in the heart of our Country.
The trade can be forgiven for its cries of corruption and conspiracy as when compared to other industries that are threatened with closure the Taxi trade seem to be the poor relation when it comes to media coverage of its plight.
Politicians appear blind to the problems currently being faced by the London Taxi Trade, even appeals for help seem to fall on deaf ears. The RMT have been trying to get an Early Day Motion, defining plying for hire through Parliament for a few years, but very few politicians have signed up to the cause.
So is it that no-one actually cares for the London Taxi? Is the Government not concerned at the potential loss of 35,000 jobs right in the heart of the Country? Is the Country not worried that the Capital may lose one of the most Iconic, historic and noble industries?
Does no-one car about the London Taxi?