Who am I...?
I am a 45-year-old London Black Cab driver who is seeking to bring an employment claim via an employment tribunal for basic worker rights against an app company called MyTaxi who operate in the UK taxi market.
Can you please help...?
I need to raise £18,000 to pay for legal help in bringing this case, there is an initial raise of £8,000 to fund the early stages of legal work that is required within 30 days of the launch - can I please ask you to support in any way you can, either by donating to my cause or sharing my story within your networks?
Approximately 4 years ago I qualified to become a London Black Cab Driver.
"The Knowledge" requires a student to thoroughly learn London's road network and places of interest. After 3 years of studying and a series of oral tests carried out by Transport for London, I was able to qualify to become a Black Cab Driver.
"The Knowledge" is renowned as one of the hardest topographical tests in the world, as such year-on-year London's taxi drivers have been voted the best in the world.
The introduction of taxi booking Apps has revolutionised the industry making the process a seamless experience for the passenger and the taxi driver. However, there has been a real human cost as a result of the growing prevalence of apps. This impacts not just minicab drivers but black cab drivers too.
Having worked for MyTaxi (who operate a similar model to Uber) for about 9 months I realised that what they were asking me to do had the potential to conflict with the conditions of my taxi licence, meaning that I could have lost my livelihood and my licence. Additionally, I highlighted serious concerns that I held in respect of public safety issues regarding the registration of drivers, whereby I felt that there was a real risk that fake or revoked drivers could access the MyTaxi platform and be offered App jobs. I was genuinely concerned about these issues and raised them with MyTaxi. I believe my contract was terminated as a result.
Prior to the inception of taxi apps, customers used to hail a taxi by putting their hand up in the street, some still do, however, this trend is rapidly changing and MyTaxi are heavily marketing for the passenger to book via their app with money off the fare if they do. MyTaxi has created a conduit between the driver and the customer transforming what was once the drivers' customer into one of MyTaxis' customer.
Failure to comply with MyTaxis' Terms & Conditions that potentially conflict with the conditions of a black cab driver’s licence and/or highlighting public safety issues was, I believe, the reason that MyTaxi terminated my contract in April 2018.
I need your help to raise £18,000 to bring an employment tribunal case against MyTaxi much in the same way that drivers have successfully challenged the practices of Uber. I think that similar challenges need to be made against MyTaxi.
Who does this effect...?
There are over 275,000 taxi and minicab drivers in the UK and most are now reliant on apps or technology companies for their work. It is clear, therefore, that app companies hold a significant amount of power over people’s livelihoods and working conditions.
Where we are & what happens next..?
I have filed a claim form with the London tribunal service and instructed Bates Wells & Braithwaite (BWB) to act as the law firm on my behalf, the same law firm who are representing the Uber drivers in their employment tribunal appeal.
How much am I raising and why...?
I now need to raise £18,000 to speak up against the exploitation of a working individual. I am hopeful that the trade organisations, unions & drivers support this groundbreaking claim for worker rights.
As taxi drivers, we can try to define our own working conditions or almost certainly have our working conditions defined for us by global corporations who value profit over basic employment rights.
Chris Johnson. Twitter: AKA Charlie Croker @inthepinktaxi
What happens if I "win" an employment case against MyTaxi?
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