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20 April 2012
Unless Mr Griffin rescinds his call TfL should look again at whether he is a fit person to hold a license to run a mini cab company says GMB
The Professional Drivers Branch of the GMB union, who have thousands of drivers and control room staff in membership is calling on Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London to make clear where he stands on the call by Addison Lee boss John Griffin, who has donated £250,000 to the Conservative Party, for London mini cab drivers to break the law by driving in bus lanes.
Last week the Addison Lee boss told his 3,500 mini cab drivers that the company will indemnify them in respect of fines and other liabilities if they follow his advice and break the law. Two dozen Addison Lee drivers have already been issued penalty notices for using the bus lanes.
Transport for London TfL has re-issued the following notice to all licensed PHV (mini cab) drivers in London making clear what the law is on driving in bus lanes:
“Under current regulations, driving a PHV in a Bus Lane, during the hours when the Bus Lane is operative (and other than to pick up and set down passengers) is a criminal offence for which PHV drivers may be personally prosecuted. Those regulations remain valid until and unless there is a court order suspending their effect. There has been no such court order. This means that, as a PHV driver, you must not drive in Bus Lanes other than to pick up and set down passengers.
If you do so, you will be committing a criminal offence and you will be personally liable to prosecution, irrespective of any indemnity which anyone else may purport to give.
TfL has power to suspend or revoke a PHV operator's or driver's licence if it is no longer satisfied that the licence holder is fit to hold such a licence.
Please take note that:
o drivers who repeatedly contravene traffic regulations, including by intentionally driving in Bus Lanes, other than to pick up or set down passengers, may be considered unfit to hold a PHV driver's licence; and
o operators who encourage such conduct may be considered unfit to hold a PHV operator's licence. “
Mr Terence Flanagan the secretary of the GMB Professional Drivers Branch said, "Mr Griffin may come across as a benevolent philanthropist appearing on television shows like secret millionaire.
However, Mr Griffin is far from that. He is a big fish in an industry dogged by bogus self-employment practises, coupled with the bullying of drivers and a host of other sharp practises which deprive many drivers of their hard earned income while enriching the likes of Mr Griffin who is then able to donate money to the Tory Party.
Drivers need to work long hours just to make a living. There is no sick pay, no holiday pay and no pension entitlement. These are the people who provide Addison Lee with their £170 million a year turnover.
Earlier this week Mr Griffin made statements encouraging drivers to risk getting their licenses revoked by driving in bus lanes. Under the London Taxi and Private Hire Board Regulations zero tolerance policy any driver in the private hire industry caught touting for work has their licence automatically revoked if they are caught. Since talk is cheap, I doubt if Mr Griffin will pay for drivers lost income when they lose their licenses.
After the disgraceful behaviour of Mr Griffin this week and his activities in relation to touting for work we want the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to make clear where he stands on this call for mass law breaking in the interest of Addison Lee making even more money. Unless Mr Griffin rescinds his call TfL should look again at whether he is a fit person to hold a license to run a mini cab company.”