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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:31 pm 
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Recall that this is the same firm the IWGB is taking on regarding drivers' employment status:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=34602&p=392261


Taxi drivers say working conditions in Northampton are 'driving them into poverty'

https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news ... -1-9161583

Image
Image: Louise Smith/Northampton Chronicle

More than one hundred Northampton taxi drivers marched on their own offices today to protest against rent fees and low wages "driving them into poverty".

The pick-up-point outside Bounds Taxis in Bradshaw Street was overwhelmed with drivers who claim the firm's working conditions has pushed them to graft up to 70 hours a week to make the minimum wage.

Bounds has around 350 drivers on its books - but cabbies say the company's ever-growing fleet means there is now not enough work available for everyone to make a living.

Now, they are calling for Bounds to stop hiring any more drivers and work to cut the costs each driver pays just to work in Northampton.

Image
Image: Louise Smith/Northampton Chronicle

Bounds Taxis declined to comment on the protest today.

It comes ahead of a court case next week where two drivers, Mr Shafqat Shah and Mr Samuel Adjei, are suing the firm for workers' rights.

Mr Shah told the Chronicle & Echo: "We're here to fight for our rights.

"Drivers on average are working 12 hour days, seven days a week. The firm says we're self-employed and it's our choice, but we don't have a choice if we want to make a living.

"What kind of self-employed work is this?"

Image
Image: Louise Smith/Northampton Chronicle

The protest - organised by the United Private Hire Drivers union - say high number of drivers and low number of jobs means they can make on average only £120 for over 10 hours on the road.

But take from that the £30-a-day expenses for fuel, car insurance plus the £175-per-week "radio rent" fees to work for Bounds and cabbies say they are no longer taking home a minimum wage.

Outside the Bounds offices today, protesters beat drums and blared megaphones while waving union flags. Other taxis sounded their horns as they passed the crowd.

Mr Shah said: "There are now too many drivers in Northampton and not enough work to go around. It's fine for Bounds because they have lots of drivers to send out and a fast response time. They still make their money. But for the drivers our income is going down.

"When you look at who is here today many of these drivers are Black or Asian. And I'm saying we feel discriminated against."

A letter was also reportedly sent to Bounds owner Mr David Wright. It asks for a £5 minimum fare on jobs, a freeze on hiring more drivers and for Bounds to instead collect fees on a 15 per cent commission basis instead of a flat fee for drivers.

Image
Image: Louise Smith/Northampton Chronicle

Although the company declined to comment today, when the Chronicle & Echo first reported on the legal action in July this year, a spokesperson for the company said there were systems in place to achieve a high level of service.

"We, like every firm in the country, charge a fixed fee and supply the driver bookings. We do not stipulate what time they start or finish, the agreement allows them to come and go as they wish and there are no restrictions on the number of hours they can work or the number of bookings they can receive.

"We must stress that each and every driver is self-employed and has the choice to move to another company any time they wish.

"The majority stay with us as we have, being the largest fleet, the ability to provide a far quicker service than most and consequently have secured a much larger percentage of the work within the town.

"It, therefore, follows that they have the potential to increase their earnings."

Image
Image: Louise Smith/Northampton Chronicle

The union said that a manager also conducts random checks on the road to ensure the drivers are complying with company policy, including the dress code policy.

The Bounds spokesperson added: "Safety is a major consumer factor, and with that in mind, we try to ensure that the vehicles our customers travel in meet the regulations set down by the Licensing Department of the Borough Council. "


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:45 pm 
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StuartW wrote:

The pick-up-point outside Bounds Taxis in Bradshaw Street was overwhelmed with drivers who claim the firm's working conditions has pushed them to graft up to 70 hours a week to make the minimum wage.


I am confused? If the minimum wage is £8.21 per hour then how much are these guys earning for their 70 hours? it should be £574.70 before deductions.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:27 am 
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The protest - organised by the United Private Hire Drivers union - say high number of drivers and low number of jobs means they can make on average only £120 for over 10 hours on the road.

there are many areas in the UK including ours when you couldn't get near that most days

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:22 am 
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edders23 wrote:
The protest - organised by the United Private Hire Drivers union - say high number of drivers and low number of jobs means they can make on average only £120 for over 10 hours on the road.

there are many areas in the UK including ours when you couldn't get near that most days

The thing is, are they "making" £120 or "taking" £120?

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:18 am 
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Lets run the numbers: 70 hours per week = £8.21 x 70 = £574.70 after expenses but before tax.

£175 radio rent
Lets say £30 of fuel per day over 6 days - £180
£40 per week insurance.
£100 per week in either cab finance or some sort of sinking fund to buy a new one
Lets days £20 per week in other expenses (plate test, plate, licence cost, etc).

With those expenses, you'd need to be pulling in £1090 per week to meet minimum wage. That's £180 per day on average

Lets run the numbers on a 40 hour work week for a laugh. Target take home: £328.40

£175 radio rent
Lets say £30 of fuel per day over 4 days - £120
£40 per week insurance.
£100 per week in either cab finance or some sort of sinking fund to buy a new one
£20 per week in other expenses (plate test, plate, licence cost, etc).

That means you need £783 per week to make minimum wage. That's £196 per day average. The worst thing about this is that if you were paying 25% commission instead of £175 set fee then you'd need need £760 per week to hit the same take home figure.

These guys have a good argument against their op, they're being charged far too much in radio hire, £130 a week is the norm around here. People rightly point out that Uber's 25% is daylight robbery, but these guys take the cake. The drivers need to be taking between £15.57 and £19.57 per hour on average to be better off than working in McDondalds.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:59 pm 
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grandad wrote:
edders23 wrote:
The protest - organised by the United Private Hire Drivers union - say high number of drivers and low number of jobs means they can make on average only £120 for over 10 hours on the road.

there are many areas in the UK including ours when you couldn't get near that most days

The thing is, are they "making" £120 or "taking" £120?


The next line in the article makes it clear that it's 'taking' £120.

Quote:
The protest - organised by the United Private Hire Drivers union - say high number of drivers and low number of jobs means they can make on average only £120 for over 10 hours on the road.

But take from that the £30-a-day expenses for fuel, car insurance plus the £175-per-week "radio rent" fees to work for Bounds and cabbies say they are no longer taking home a minimum wage.

Which doesn't even seem to include the cost of the car, repairs and maintenance etc :shock:

As for terms like 'minimum wage'/'living wage', or whatever, I always take that kind of thing with a pinch of salt in articles like this - it's so vague as to be meaningless, and difficult to quantify the figures exactly.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:29 pm 
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plus the £175-per-week "radio rent" fees

A bit on the high side methinks.

Quote:
"Drivers on average are working 12 hour days, seven days a week. The firm says we're self-employed and it's our choice, but we don't have a choice if we want to make a living.

Can't argue with that.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:32 pm 
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Quote:
and there are no restrictions on the number of hours they can work or the number of bookings they can receive.

Is that a wise thing to say?
Quote:
The union said that a manager also conducts random checks on the road to ensure the drivers are complying with company policy, including the dress code policy.

And is that a wise thing to say just before a self-employment tribunal?

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:39 pm 
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Karga wrote:
These guys have a good argument against their op, they're being charged far too much in radio hire, £130 a week is the norm around here. People rightly point out that Uber's 25% is daylight robbery, but these guys take the cake. The drivers need to be taking between £15.57 and £19.57 per hour on average to be better off than working in McDondalds.


£175 certainly a lot of money, but sounds like Bounds the dominant player in Northampton, so effectively they're maybe using a monopoly position to charge more than the norm.

Of course, even if the drivers were paying £30 per week less (say) that would obviously help them, but wouldn't be a game changer in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway, I daresay other ops in the town are charging less, but if the drivers are busier with Bounds then maybe they wouldn't be any better off, which is probably why they haven't jumped ship to another office.

On the other hand, the statement by Bounds doesn't make sense - because they're the biggest and most efficient, it hardly follows that the drivers are better off there than with another op:

Bounds wrote:
"We, like every firm in the country, charge a fixed fee and supply the driver bookings. We do not stipulate what time they start or finish, the agreement allows them to come and go as they wish and there are no restrictions on the number of hours they can work or the number of bookings they can receive.

"We must stress that each and every driver is self-employed and has the choice to move to another company any time they wish.

"The majority stay with us as we have, being the largest fleet, the ability to provide a far quicker service than most and consequently have secured a much larger percentage of the work within the town.

"It, therefore, follows that they have the potential to increase their earnings."


The final sentence is just meaningless tosh - it doesn't 'follow' at all. And the word 'potential' confirms that - it's not actually saying they *can* increase their earnings in any way.

Of course, as with the vast majority of drivers, the only real way they can increase their earnings is by working more hours, but Bounds won't say that, obviously, hence they simply offer up the usual spiel which actually means zero as far as the drivers are concerned.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:45 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
The union said that a manager also conducts random checks on the road to ensure the drivers are complying with company policy, including the dress code policy.

And is that a wise thing to say just before a self-employment tribunal?


Wise for the union, or for Bounds?

Would certainly agree if Bounds had said that, but surely it's a point that the union would use in terms of arguing that the drivers are employees?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:44 am 
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StuartW wrote:
Wise for the union, or for Bounds?

Would certainly agree if Bounds had said that, but surely it's a point that the union would use in terms of arguing that the drivers are employees?

Read that after travelling half way across world, and thought it was a statement from Bounds, but now realise it was from the Union. #-o

Defo a wise move for the Union to put out prior to the hearing. Very American.

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