ADCU condemns reactionary, racist, and regressive taxi and private hire policy due to be voted upon today by West Northamptonshire Council
· ADCU to stage demo against proposed new regressive and racist West Northamptonshire taxi and private hire regulations
· Council doggedly sticks with racist policy to demand ‘certificates of good conduct’ from those born or spent time abroad.
· Council to introduce elaborate punitive points system that is arbitrary and counterproductive.
· Council remains deafeningly silent on worker rights protection despite separate Supreme Court and High Court rulings which demand regulatory intervention.
The ADCU condemns proposed new taxi and private hire policy due to be voted upon by West Northamptonshire Council on October 3rd at 6pm.
Ahead of the Council meeting the union is at 11am staging amass demonstration of area licensed drivers at Guildhall, Northampton.
Despite many months of consultation and numerous in person meetings, the Council has failed to take in board the substantive feedback offered by union members and other driver organisations.
Chief amongst the concerns raised by the union include:
- Demands by the Council that licensed drivers must secure a ‘certificate of good conduct’ from every country they may have lived for more than 90 days since the age of 18. Even the Home Office statutory guidance is that such measures are unnecessary for private hire drivers. The imposition of this rule is arbitrary and racist.
- An arbitrary penalty points system that turns risk and compliance management into a numbers game but does nothing to raise standards. Despite the council themselves claiming a sole regulatory purpose of public safety, the Council introducing a penalty points system where drivers can lose their license due to penalty points for poor personal hygiene, poor dress style or for not offering to load luggage. In short, the Council has colluded with area operators to make workplace performance management a regulatory standard.The Council overstep their authority so that bad bosses can continue to avoid their obligations under employment law.
- A harsh convictions policy. Drivers convicted for holding a mobile phone, a DVLA 6-point offense, can now lose their private hire license for five years.
- A failure by the Council to crack down on rogue employers and protect the worker rights of drivers despite a Supreme Court ruling confirming the rights of drivers. Separately, the High Court has ruled that operators must change their business model, so they contract directly with passengers rather than have their drivers do so, yet the Council has remained completely silent despite the profound safety implications for passengers.
- The Council also seeks to inappropriately snoop into the private life of licensed private hire drivers. The Council warns they will monitor the activity of licensed drivers on social media in their private time and consider this in licensing decisions. This is an Article 8 human rights violation in that licensees are guaranteed the right to a private life.
- The Council is demanding higher standards from private hire drivers than the elected Councillors demand of themselves in their own code of conduct. Many of the Councillors on the licensing committee have failed to publish their required declaration of interests yet demand licensed drivers maintain even higher standards of conduct than the lawmakers even when off the job and in their private lives.
- The Council has failed to conduct a properequalities impact assessment as required by law. The Council should havedelivered this before consultation and now after the consultation they haveonly considered one factor – the certificate of good conduct – despite the intenseimpact this profoundly racist regulatory framework has on a minority workforce.
Shafqat Shah, Chair of ADCU Northampton said:
I am bitterly disappointed that the Council has chosen to disregard the considered feedback of our union’s members working in the Northampton area trade.The Council seem determined to miss a golden opportunity to introduce regulations that could raise service standards, improve safety and raise the living standards of local licensees long exploited in the trade. Instead, the Council has indulged in populism to dream up an elaborately punitive and racist policy that will ultimately fail to deliver on its objectives for the public while rewarding big business.