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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 4:31 am 
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Taxi driver in sticker situation over flag display

http://www.stratford-herald.com/99091-t ... splay.html

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Image: Stratford Herald

A POLISH taxi driver who has lived and worked in Stratford-upon-Avon for 15 years says he feels “discriminated against” for being told by Stratford District Council to remove his joint Union and Polish flag sticker from his cab window which he says is a sign of solidarity and friendship.

Greg Rojewski said the council’s licensing officer told him to remove the sticker from the rear window of his taxi after the council received a complaint two weeks ago. Furthermore, Greg then had to drive his vehicle to council headquarters – yesterday, Wednesday – at Elizabeth House, Stratford, to prove to the licensing officer the British-Polish sticker had been removed from his cab.

He was surprised to receive the following email from the district council’s licensing team after initial contact was a made a fortnight ago; it reads: “Further to myself and my colleague’s conversation with you regarding the removal of the flags on your vehicle, please could you present your vehicle to us on Wednesday between 0900 and 1030, at our offices at Elizabeth House, so that we may confirm that they have been removed. If you are unable to make this appointment, then please let us know as soon as possible.”

At first Greg thought the whole thing was a joke but it turned out to be no laughing matter when he realised he had to comply with the council’s instruction.

“There are a lot of Polish people in Stratford and some of them don’t always speak much English. The sticker was meant to let them know that I am Polish too and can help them because I speak both languages, this is useful if they have hospital appointments. The sticker is also meant to show our lifelong friendship and unity with this country. Polish pilots fought in the Battle of Britain and all over the world to help everyone’s freedom,” Greg said.

Two weeks ago Greg emerged from a pharmacy having collected his medication. When he got back to his taxi there were two council officers standing behind the vehicle inspecting his flags sticker. They explained someone had complained about his sticker and asked him to remove it, he later received the email inviting him to go Elizabeth House so the same officers could see he had removed the item.

“I felt discriminated against,” Greg told the Herald. “If the council do the same with someone who displays a St George flag on their taxi window – which they say they would do – then I don’t have a problem with their decision but I can’t believe one little sticker has caused so much fuss. Even my business card is a combination of the Union flag and Polish flag. If I painted my cab red and white in the national colours of Poland – this I understand – but it’s not nice to be treated this way.”

It’s Greg’s belief that the recent request by the council’s licensing department doesn’t help the mood of a nation still locked in a struggle over the ongoing Brexit debate.

“I did not expect much abuse after Brexit but some of my Polish friends have left this country to work in Germany and elsewhere because they have been abused. I come from a town called Parczew but I’ve now worked in this country longer than I did in Poland and I’m staying here because I it’s my home,” Greg said.

Stratford District Council denied the order to remove the sticker was discriminatory. It issued the following statement on Wednesday 23rd May: “A complaint from another driver was raised against this driver for displaying the Polish flag on the rear of his vehicle. The Stratford-on-Avon District Council taxi policy prevents the display of any livery on licensed vehicles unless written approval has been obtained from the District Council. The driver has not sought approval for his chosen livery and so has been asked to remove it. Any request for a display of symbols, written words, pictures or similar on a licensed vehicle is carefully considered with a view to ensuring that the display of such an items is appropriate, and that the taxi fleet remain welcoming in appearance to all passengers whom may wish to use their services, regardless of nationality. On this occasion the District Council has received no request for consideration so can only enforce the licence conditions which require any livery to be authorised in writing.”


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 5:52 pm 
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A complaint from another driver was raised against this driver for displaying the Polish flag on the rear of his vehicle.

Just about sums up the trade in 2019.

Driver has nothing better to do than complain about a sticker. :sad:

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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 5:54 pm 
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On this occasion the District Council has received no request for consideration so can only enforce the licence conditions which require any livery to be authorised in writing.

And is it beyond the wit of man for a retrospective application for the sign?

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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 8:04 am 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
On this occasion the District Council has received no request for consideration so can only enforce the licence conditions which require any livery to be authorised in writing.

And is it beyond the wit of man for a retrospective application for the sign?


Indeed, but I'm guessing the driver's making a bit of a meal of this. The story is now on the Metro and Sun websites, and looks like another photographer(s) has been despatched.

Seems to have a lot of stickers and the like going on, and looks like he's got his nickname ('Grekski', short for Greg Rojewski??) on the back of his cab - I mean, who does that? Or maybe that's his trading name?

And just noticed his t-shirt in the photo at the top of the tread - is it some kind of St George thing? Would be interesting to read what the slogan says.

Anyway, for what it's worth, a few other photos from the Sun and Metro sites:

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Image: Metro/Tristan Potter/SWNS

Image
Image: Metro/Tristan Potter/SWNS

Image
Image: Metro/Tristan Potter/SWNS

Image
Image: The Sun/South West News Service

Image
Image: The Sun/South West News Service


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:11 am 
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Taxi driver baffled by council response

http://www.stratford-herald.com/100466- ... ponse.html

POLISH taxi driver, Greg Rojewski from Stratford, has been left baffled once again by Stratford District Council’s refusal to allow him to display a sticker on his vehicle which features both Polish British flags in unity because the sticker is “likely to cause tension, offence or division.”

Greg says the sticker – which is about the size of a mobile phone – is meant as a goodwill gesture to customers to let them know he’s proud of his country of birth but equally proud of Britain where he’s lived and worked for 15 years.

He compares the council’s refusal to grant him permission to display the sticker as the same as, “pulling out a gun on a mosquito.”

It’s not the first time Greg’s fallen foul of the district council’s licensing regulations for taxi drivers in town. He previously displayed the same sticker in May but without council permission and was told to take it down which he complied with. He then had to drive to the council’s HQ in Church Street, Stratford, to prove he’d done so.

After that experience, which was exclusively reported in the Herald on 23rd May, Greg then decided to officially apply for permission to display the very same sticker on his district council registered Hackney Carriage.

Hoping to get the green light from council officials this time round he was told in a letter dated 17th June that his application had been refused but it was the content of the correspondence which caused him most disbelief.

“I got a letter telling me my application had been refused. The letter says, ‘local authorities have a legal duty under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to consider the likely effect of the exercise of those functions, and to do all they reasonably can to prevent crime and disorder in its area, including anti-social and other behaviour adversely affecting the local environment. The display of national flags on this taxi is likely to cause tension, offence or division in a manner that would breach these statutory requirements.’

“I had to ask myself, do they really think an innocent sticker which is meant as a welcome to everyone and especially to elderly Polish residents who might not speak English very well, is going to cause a riot in the town centre?” Greg said.

He’s no idea what as to what tension the council letter refers or to which flags.

“What tension are they talking about? And it’s national flags of each country, so does that mean the Union Jack can cause tension as well? And if the council say it’s only the Polish flag then I will bring up the 2010 Equality Act and the issue of discrimination,” he added.

To say Greg is gob smacked is an understatement but for now he’s not sure if it’s the end of the road for his friendship sticker which is meant to symbolise a history of unity between two nations which dates back centuries.

“I am surprised and I think the council explanation is ridiculous. There is nothing on the letter to tell me how I can appeal so what can I do?” Greg said.

A statement from Stratford District Council issued on Tuesday reads: ‘Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s taxi policy prevents the display of any livery on licensed vehicles unless written approval has been obtained by the district council.

‘Any request for a display of symbols, written words, pictures or similar on a licensed vehicle is carefully considered with a view to ensuring that the display of such items is appropriate, and that the taxi fleet remain welcoming in appearance to all passengers who may wish to use their services.

‘While display of some national flags may be uncontroversial with many people, different flags will have different meanings to different nationalities and international tensions should not be reflected in our local taxi trade, which is well represented by drivers who originate from lots of different countries.

‘The promotion of any one nation, or a nation’s politics, whether intentional or not, has the potential to stir tensions within the community, so the exteriors of our taxis are not the right canvas for expressions of national identity. The district council must remain neutral and, as a responsible licensing authority, we have a statutory duty to promote equality and ensure fairness for all without exception’.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:35 pm 
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Quote:
A statement from Stratford District Council issued on Tuesday reads: ‘Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s taxi policy prevents the display of any livery on licensed vehicles unless written approval has been obtained by the district council.

‘Any request for a display of symbols, written words, pictures or similar on a licensed vehicle is carefully considered with a view to ensuring that the display of such items is appropriate, and that the taxi fleet remain welcoming in appearance to all passengers who may wish to use their services.

‘While display of some national flags may be uncontroversial with many people, different flags will have different meanings to different nationalities and international tensions should not be reflected in our local taxi trade, which is well represented by drivers who originate from lots of different countries.

‘The promotion of any one nation, or a nation’s politics, whether intentional or not, has the potential to stir tensions within the community, so the exteriors of our taxis are not the right canvas for expressions of national identity. The district council must remain neutral and, as a responsible licensing authority, we have a statutory duty to promote equality and ensure fairness for all without exception’.

It does beg the question why they didn't say this in the letter of rejection, rather than go on about anti social behaviour and creating disorder etc.

All that said it never ceases to amaze me the amount of time and money that is spent throughout this country on the subject of f***ing stickers. It drives me mad. :sad:

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