At a time when all taxi drivers are in a deep state of economic chrisis we must keep the information coming.
Taxi Drivers For Change
"Change for the better"
Newsletter No 2
Welcome to the second edition of our newsletter, the marathon continues. A lot of work has taken place since TDFC's last newsletter but unfortunately not a lot has changed for us all. Families are still suffering and taxi drivers still can't make a living. The following information is of the utmost importance to you, your industry and your families future and well being. You will need to make an important decision at the end of this newsletter so please read carefully. Many thanks from the committee to all supporters who are helping to distribute the 15,000 copies of this newsletter nationally.
"Meeting with Bertie Ahearne"
In an effort to speak to everyone that could possibly help us a delegation fom TDFC met with Mr Bertie Ahearne TD at St Lukes in Druncondra. The meeting went well and Mr Ahearne was sympathetic to our cause. Bertie mentioned that he didn't realise things had got so bad in the industry and undertook to speak to the powers that be on our behalf. He suggested that the best way forward was to involve a mediator to speak to us and the representative bodies as well as the TR and the Minister for Transport and he was sure that this would demonstrate that TDFC should be at the table to address the industries problems. Mr Pat Byrne was suggested and agreed as the mediator.
"Meeting with Pat Byrne"
A delegation from TDFC met with taxi advisory council chairman, Mr Pat Byrne, to discuss the problems full time drivers are experiencing. This was more a "get to know you" meeting and from this point of view the meeting went well. TDFC went through the problems with Mr Byrne and highlighted the urgency required in addressing them. Mr Byrne said he would need to talk to all concerned and would get back to us asap.
TDFC are pleased with the performance of the taxi vote in the recent elections. It would seem that a number of parties and politicians who benefitted from our votes were correct in bringing forward positive policies for the taxi industry, you were all obviously impressed as those parties and politicians that have good policies toward the industry did very well. TDFC would like to congratulate all who did well around the country and commiserate with those who lost out. TDFC will be keeping you informed when voting is required again. The next time will be for Lisbon 2.
"Road show protests"
Delegations from TDFC attended 2 further successful road show protests in Galway and Portlaoise to offer our support to our colleagues from around the country and to continue to voice our unhappiness with the regulators office. On the way to the Portlaoise protest we were contacted by Mr Pat Byrne who asked us to clarify our position of non engagement to the regulation commissioner which we duly did. After a drive through protest in Portlaoise TDFC were returning to base when we got a phone call from Pat Byrne to say that he had arranged a meeting with the senior officials of the Dept of Transport, great news we thought, progress at last!
"RSA safety at work conference"
Delegates from TDFC attended the road safety authorities safety at work conference at Dublin Castle recently. Surprisingly there were no taxi industry reps in attendance although the taxi regulation commission were represented by the commissioner herself. The conference was very interesting and we will have details on our web site shortly. The most interesting aspect was a presentation given by world expert on fatigue Prof Jim Horne. Fatigue or sleepiness behind the wheel is considered as dangerous as if not more than driving under the influence. At the end of this presentation TDFC asked whether the RSA were not concerned about the long hours being worked by drivers and also the problem of double jobbers working their taxi's after completing a weeks work elsewhere. The RSA responded that they are unhappy and concerned about this and would be working closely with the industry to address this issue. On a related note one haulage co. owner expressed his unhappiness that some of his drivers were coming to work tired on a Monday because they had spent the weekend working their taxi's. He said there was nothing he could do about the danger this presented as the sate had issued them with taxi licences!
"An Garda Siochanna"
Delegates from TDFC have had a subsequent meeting with the Gardai at Pearse St and the relevant Council officials to do a walk about of south city ranks to address the urgent issues. The most important issue is rank spaces and this is being considered closely. All details will be on our web site shortly as we are confined by the space available here. It was a very successful exercise and all of the relevant issues are being looked at closely. The same exercise is now being conducted on the north city ranks and a walkabout is scheduled shortly. The Gardai are very happy to work with us and we would urge all of our supporters around the country to engage with their local Gardai in the same way.
"Meeting with the Dept of Transport 18/6/09"
TDFC met with senior officials of the D.O.T. on thursday 18/6/09 at the dept's offices in south Frederick st. The meeting was informative to both parties and was conducted in a calm and reasoned manner.
The agenda consisted of the following points:
1, Illegal operators working in unlicensed areas. 2. Cloning of licenses. 3. Sub letting of rental licenses to unlicensed individuals. 4. Fully employed individuals working in the industry having completed a full weeks work elsewhere. 5. Hours required to work by full time drivers. 6. Unfair competition through assisted entry to the industry and tax liabilities.. 7. Inability to exit industry.
TDFC proposals were as follows:
1. Proposed temporary moratorium with set date of review. 2. An urgent review and restructure of the industry ( re change for the better).
3. An appeals process. 4. A meeting with Minister Dempsey to discuss our problems.
After an introduction by TDFC the business of the day was discussed.
The following are the responses from the Dept:
Quality and not quantity is very important and safety is of the utmost importance. The new skills programme which has been put in place should help improve the quality of service. The criteria in place for a person to enter the private coach, haulage and bus industries requires a certificate of professional competence, a strict Garda check, financial backing, a practical test and a 35hr course, this could work in the taxi industry.
The Dept would like to see more enforcement and were very pleased to hear of TDFC's engagement with the Gardai. The Dept will support any work with the Gardai and will also speak to revenue ,customs, social welfare, etc.
Taco graphs were mentioned but TDFC pointed out that they were unworkable at the moment and drivers would not embrace them due to poor working conditions.
The Dept would urge TDFC to consult with the chairman of the taxi advisory council as being the way forward, on tax clearance the Dept will consult with the revenue and social welfare services. The Minister has no law to introduce a cap.
Over all the meeting was a positive one, the Dept will work on standards and stricter enforcement and will await the taxi regulators report to see where we go from there. The Dept again stressed the importance of engaging with the chairman of the advisory council and agreed that a world class taxi service was achievable.
In a follow up letter the Dept states that the taxi regulator is considering our submission as part of the public consultation process on formulating the next steps needed for the industry including the improvement of vehicle and driver standards. They further urge us to engage with the regulator and the advisory council. The Dept also point out that as part of the overall programme for Government, the Government will shortly be making a statement on Economic Regulation which will apply to all regulatory bodies and will deal with appeals mechanisms.
It is clear to TDFC that we have only 2 choices as to which direction we need to take. Which ever one you decide you will be expected to support. On one hand we can engage with the taxi regulation commissioner, for which we don't have a mandate from you, which may lead to a meeting with Minister Dempsey and further progress. Or, secondly, we can return to action and take our cause to the streets. In all of the meetings so far we haven't got anything to show for you and our situation grows worse by the day.
If we are to engage with the taxi regulator a positive gesture of trust is needed, which could be a guarantee that items from our submission will be enacted on or even something as simple as suspending the renewal increase while we talk about it. Our gesture of trust has been to engage with the Dept of Transport and Pat Byrne in a calm and reasonable manner and to suspend our protests. There should be equal respect from both sides.
What we need from all our supporters now is a decision. Below are 2 questions for which we require just one answer. Text your answer to the number shown (text will cost 60c and all monies will be used for the campaign and detailed in the accounts which are available to all through Collie our treasurer). Your participation is of the utmost importance to the future of the industry so please respond.
Do you wish TDFC to continue dialogue and engage with the taxi regulation commission / advisory council?
If your answer is yes then text taxi A and your plate number to 53307
Or Question B
Do you wish to escalate direct action to include Cities, towns, airports, ferry ports, motorways, etc, nationally, until a positive gesture from commission is offered and accepted?
If your answer is yes text taxi B and your plate number to 53307
(0.60cent per text incld vat. Standard network charges apply. Lines close Sun 12/7/09 @ 18.00. S.P. phonovation, p.o. box 6 Dun Laoghaire Co Dublin 0818217100)
Fight for your job text us now
Thanks to all supporters for their continued support