Women’s safety when they use private hire vehicles was put in jeopardy when the House of Lords agreed a proposal that that will mean they could be collected by a ‘rogue’ operator when they ordered a minicab.
Unite, the country’s largest union which represents many taxi drivers, condemned the decision by the peers last night (Tuesday 21 October) to agreed clause 12 of the Deregulation bill which will allow firms to sub-contract bookings to operators in a different district.
Unite said that that, in effect, this meant that a fare would be picked by a ‘rogue’ driver, at a time when - according to a Local Government Association survey - 80 per cent of women said they would be concerned if they were collected by a minicab from a different firm from the one they had originally booked with.
Unite national taxi rep Tommy McIntyre said: “Public safety, especially as it affects women, has been seriously jeopardised by this decision which is a victory for the free market ideologues of this Tory-led government. Market forces should not be come before the safety of the public.
“In London, there are 25 sexual assaults by minicab drivers every week – last year, there were 287 assaults. We fear that this decision could mean that the number of assaults will dramatically increase in the capital and across the UK.
“We call on MPs to seriously rethink this issue when the bill returns to the House of Commons.”
Unite and other taxi trade unions, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, the Survivors Trust, 19 police commissioners, the Institute of Licensing, and the Local Government Association had all opposed clause 12.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.