On Wednesday 16th November 2011, the United Cabbies Group held a demonstration outside the offices of the (LTDA) Licensed Taxi Driver’s Association in Woodfield Road, London W9, in protest at the recent proposal made by the LTDA on behalf of the whole London Taxi trade for a 20% fare increase during the London Olympic Games 2012.
The LTDA arrogantly proposed this fare increase without any consultation or mandate from the Taxi trade, or indeed it’s own members.
The proposal understandably received extremely negative press throughout the world’s media which we believe has seriously damaged the hard earned reputation of the world’s finest Taxi trade.
This has led to the trade being vilified by the public who have condemned us all as ‘Greedy cabbies’.
Following a ballot of all UCG members, where the result was 98% AGAINST any fare increase during the games, and 84% in favour of taking action against the LTDA, the UCG descended on Woodfield Road to voice our anger at their ineptitude.
At 11am General Secretary Bob Oddy and his lacky Richard Massett came out and locked the gates, cowardly barricading themselves in and refusing to come out and speak to us.
They could run but they could not hide thanks to our extremely loud megaphone, and they were left in no uncertain terms of the anger of the hundreds of drivers who showed up.
Within minutes the street outside Taxi House was gridlocked with cabs sounding their horns and drivers shouting ODDY ODDY ODDY – OUT OUT OUT!
He was nowhere to be seen, but we did catch a glimpse of Taxi Newspaper Editor Stuart Pessok scurrying around on the roof taking photos.
Well, he’s got to have something worth reading to put in the next Comic hasn’t he!
The United Cabbies Group is demanding that the LTDA refrain from issuing any more statements or proposals on behalf of the Licensed London Taxi Trade, and that they clearly state that any future statements or proposals released by them are on behalf of their members ONLY.
THEY DO NOT SPEAK FOR US!
We also ask that the LTDA issue a statement to the media and TfL retracting their proposal for this Olympic Games fare increase until they have properly balloted their members on this issue.
The General Secretary of the LTDA, Mr Bob Oddy also sits on the Board of Transport for London in direct conflict with his position in the LTDA. He was unelected to this position.
How can he fight for his members whilst taking £24,000 per year in wages from Transport for London?
The United Cabbies Group want him removed from this position and a democratically elected candidate under the ‘One Badge – One Vote’ system replace him. The United Cabbies Group are willing to work with Transport for London to find suitable replacement candidates.
Following the demonstration at Woodfield Road we then took our protest to the Evening Standard Offices in Derry Street, W8. Within minutes the street was full of Taxis again sounding their horns and banging drums.
The damage caused to the Taxi trade’s reputation has been immense with this story being reported around the world. The UCG could not just sit there and do nothing, the members had voted (unlike Mr Oddy’s) and the UCG swung into action!
A written statement was handed to the newspaper requesting a counter story be printed to notify it’s readers that the UCG has democratically balloted our members and the vast majority of Taxi drivers are opposed to these proposals. We also asked that this be placed as prominently as the original story.
Unlike the LTDA cowards, the editor of the original story came outside to to face us and spoke with the UCG’s Jonathan Myers, who told him in no uncertain terms that if the Evening Standard did not comply with this request we would start making plans to block their print works in Harmondsworth Quay and stop one of their editions hitting the streets.
We urged them to take us seriously, and the next day this story appeared on their website. The UCG are unhappy that most of the facts have been left out of this article, such as the 98% ballot AGAINST this by our members, and the fact that the LTDA DID NOT ballot anyone.
We have since been in touch with the Evening Standard to warn them that if they do not amend it, further action will be taken.
We shall see.
We can only assume that this is either very lazy journalism, or some sort of political agenda.
Both these noisy demos lasted approximately 45 mins each, and the amount of public support we received was encouraging.
Thanks to the LTDA, the world now thinks ALL of London’s Taxi drivers are greedy opportunists, and the only way to counter that is to get this story back into the public domain, and hopefully minimise the damage.
We would like to thank all the drivers who showed up and gave their time for free, whilst Mr Oddy and Co count the £497,000 they receive from their member’s subs each year.
Thankfully, not much of that comes from UCG members.
And here is Mr Oddy on BBC News claiming 40% of his members want this increase during the games. This figure also suddenly rose to 50% when then LTDA realised that there was strong opposition to this proposal.
This small article appeared in the Evening Standard a few days later stating that even Mayor Boris Johnson thinks this proposal will kill our business.
On Monday 21st November, Bob Oddy and his guide and helper Steve McNamara were out on the rank at Paddington Station canvassing drivers to see if their claims held any water.
After receiving some very negative comments and abuse from drivers, including some of their own members they quickly skulked off with their tails between their legs.
Now do you get it Bob?
Real Taxi drivers DO NOT want this increase, and they no longer want you proposing anything on their behalf when it is quite obvious that you don’t know what you are talking about!
We await the LTDA’s retraction of this proposal.