Thursday, January 14, 2010

Follow the Law – Save the Taxi Drivers

Follow the Law – Save the Taxi Drivers

Faruque Ahmed

P.O. Box – 349, Alexandria - 2015

Mobile: 041 091 4118, Email: union_faruque@...

Mr. Mark Lennon
Secretary
Unions NSW

Level 3, 4 - 10 Goulburn Street
Sydney
NSW 2000

Telephone: (02) 9881 5999
Fax: (02) 9261 3505
Email: mail@...

Dear Mark

Please examine attached documents below like Taxi Driver Entitlement under the Law, The NSW TWU's Crime against Taxi Drivers and Labor Party Leaders and Lawyers Unlawful Behavior. The leadership of the NSW TWU has been compromising bailee taxi drivers' welfare and safety since 1979 and as a result the taxi drivers are voting with their feet and are forming and have formed alternative associations to put forward their concerns. The sad part is even to day, the NSW TWU is acting against us at every available opportunity. As you would be aware, the manner in which the NSW Industrial Relations Act is constructed it is extremely difficult for genuine taxi workers or workers in general to gain recognition at the Industrial Commission because the historically recognized and registered industrial organization is the NSW Transport Workers Union (TWU).

They neither wish to relinquish their power nor do they wish to represent taxi industry workers fairly and properly. The evidence for such a claim is undeniable and is provided below.

I wonder is it possible to bring some sense to the NSW TWU leadership who think the labor movement and workers under their industrial umbrella are their captives and they can “molest” them, ignore them or choose to favour one section over the other at any time, without fear of being called to account?

I like many others have had enough of them.

With thanks

Sincerely Yours

Faruque Ahmed

Saturday, December 27, 2008



Taxi Driver Entitlement under the Law

TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AUSTRALIA

(NEW SOUTH WALES BRANCH)

388 -390 SUSSEX STREET SYDENY 2000

E McBEATTY –Secretary Treasurer

SYDNEY: 2124A77

NEWCASTLE SUB-BRANCH: 69 3645 69 3845

SOUUTH COAST SUB- BRANCH: WOLL 291753

18th December, 1979

Mr. R, Kermode,

Secretary,

Metropolitan Taxi Council

48 Oxford Street

PADDINGTON - 2021

Dear Mr. Kermode,

Since 1974, the Taxi Section of this Union has unsuccessfully attempted, to achieve, a new Taxi Drivers (State) Award to replace the current award made on the 8th March 1972 (1851G1413).We did not file a formal claim, but sought to negotiate before taking legal action. Without attempting, to apportion blame for the lack of success, we can at least agree that the efforts on both sides to resolve our differences failed to achieve any worthwhile results.

Accordingly, the Union decided to await the foreshadowed amendments to the N.S.W. Industrial Arbitration Act to establish tribunals empowered to arbitrate on the rates and conditions for Taxi Drivers.

These historic changes become legally effective by Proclamation on the 30th November, 1979.

As a result thereof, we are now seeking to obtain (preferably by consent) a Contract Determination under section 91K and/or a section 91H Agreement to cover Taxi Drivers: To this end, and consistent with our policy of fully exploring the Conciliation process before resorting to Arbitration, we have attached here to a Claim for discussion with your organization at a series of Conferences which we seek to commence as soon as possible.

We would appreciate your advice as to a suitable date for holding the first of such negotiations.

Yours Sincerely

T. Heir

Organiser

(Note: A copy of the Claim prepared by our Delegates is attached hereto).


TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AUSTRALIA

(NEW SOUTH WALES BRANCH)

388 -390 SUSSEX STREET SYDENY 2000

E McBEATTY –Secretary Treasurer

SYDNEY: 2124A77

NEWCASTLE SUB-BRANCH: 69 3645 69 3845

SOUUTH COAST SUB- BRANCH: WOLL 291753

T.W.U. CLAIM Re: TAXI DRIVERS STATE) CONTRACT DETERMINATION, (DECEMBER 1979

1. Minimum Rate of Commission:

Drivers shall be paid a minimum rate of commission, expressed as sixty per cent 60% of the chargeable fares earned.

2. Sick Leave.

Each driver shall be entitled during the -first year of the contract to five(5)days sick leave and-to eight (8) days paid sick leave annually during the second and subsequent years. Such payment shall be based on the drivers "average earnings" assessed over the week preceding such absence.

The rights under this clause shall accumulate from year to year, so that any part of the leave entitlement which has no been allowed in any one year may be claimed, and paid for, in a subsequent year of continued contract.

3. Annual Leave.

(a) Drivers shall be entitled to take four (4) weeks paid annual leave for each year of contract.

For the purpose of this clause, the driver shall be paid and, treated as though he was an employee covered by. the N.S.W. Annual Holidays Act, 1944.

(b) In the case of "Night Drivers", their entitlement under this clause shall be based on an annual leave period applicable of (5) weeks per year of contract in lieu of the four (4)weeks for ordinary drivers. At the time of his entering a perk of annual leave as above provided, each driver shall receive a "Loading'--of 25% extra, based on the annual leave payment due.

4. Long Service heave.

Drivers shall receive all benefits due to employees under the N.S.W. Long Service Act, 1955.

5. Public Holidays.

Each driver shall be entitled to absent himself on all public holidays without loss of pay. He shall be paid his "average earnings (based on the preceding weeks commission) for each such days of absence.

Where a driver works on a public holiday, he shall be paid his "average earnings"

(as above defined) plus $30.00.

6. Receipts for Payment.

Drivers shall receive receipts for all payments made to Bailors (Owners)and Taxi Co-operatives.

7. Air Conditioning.

All taxis shall be suitably air-conditioned without the driver incurring any expense or payment therefore.

8. Guaranteed Earnings.

A driver commencing work on any day shall receive guaranteed minimum earnings of at least thirty dollars (30.00) for that day.



The NSW TWU's Crime against Taxi Drivers

Taxi Industry Services Association of NSW

volume 29, No 4, March 1984 issue editorial, "we (the T.C. and NTIA) were placed in a position of being forced to a Determination rather than altering the previous Agreement because of a handful of owners who would not observe some aspects of that Agreement". In plain English the bailors continued their lawless ways despite getting their bailor/bailee relationship between owners and NOSETDs.

2.9.1. The Path to the new Determination went like this: after 1981 the bailors had to come up with new ways of carrying on their prel980 activities within the bailor/bailee system. So the fixed pay-in system made it's first appearance. The position in negotiations was reached when the bailors refused to agree to anything unless the TWIT agreed to include fixed pay-ins in the new Contract Determination, The TWU, it's delegates, it's members and all taxi drivers refused to agree. The stalemate continued for nearly 12 months! The following events occurred and I make no comment on them, nor do I infer anything by them -

(i) One of the NOSETD delegates of the TWU, who helped to prepare the TWU's case turned up at the hearing as a witness for the bailors. Subsequently he became a

"plate holder" and was elected to the Taxi Council board.

(ii) The Secretary of the TWU Mr. E. McBeaty died in a boating accident.

(iii) The new secretary of the TWU Mr. H. F. Quinn ordered their legal representatives to agree to the bailors terms, fixed pay-ins and to wind up the case. They did so.

(iv) The Contract Determination 1984 came into effect 22.2.84.

2.9.2. The fact that fixed pay-ins got into the CD84, contrary to:

(i) All past practices,

(ii) All past recommendations of inquiries into the taxi industry,

(iii) All members of the TWU opposing it,

(iv) All taxi drivers opposing it

(v) The Industrial Arbitration Act 1940 to 1968 giving jurisdiction to the Commission to grant pay-ins only as a percentage of meter takings.

I leave for the Commissioner to ponder over and comment on.

2,9.3 The council representing the bailors was Mr. Callaghan. But it must be brought to the review's attention that Mr. R. Kermode played such an integral part of these proceedings that the Deputy President McMahon decided to

-----------------------------------------------------------­

NOTES:

1. Refer Annexure "B" P153. 3. Refer Annexure "B" P125.

2. ,, ,, "A" 89 4. ,, ,, I.R.A.40-68 Sec. 91K.



Faruque Ahmed

P.O. Box – 349, Alexandria - 2015

Mobile: 041 091 4118, Email: union_faruque@...

Director General
Attorney General's Department of NSW
Parramatta Justice Precinct
160 Marsden St
Parramatta
NSW 2124

DX 1227
Sydney NSW 2001

Phone: 02 8688 7777 or 1800 684 449
Fax: 02 8688 7980
Website: www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au

Subject: Labor Party Leaders and Lawyers Unlawful Behavior

Dear Sir/Madam

According to the Taxi Industry (Contract Drivers) Contract Determination, the bailor is solely responsible for fuel and wash costs for the taxi. However the Taxi Industry Association (NSW TIA) made an application at the NSW IRC in NSW IRC Matter No 2383 of 1993 to pass the responsibility for fuel and wash costs to bailee drivers.

The NSW Transport Workers Union who is supposed to represent the taxi drivers said during the proceedings via their lawyer, Adam Hatcher, "we reserve the right to oppose at a later date" and the TWU allowed to have passed a change to the Determination by transferring the cost of fuel and wash to those bailee drivers, contrary to Case and Statute Law.

The good CC Connor who heard the matter mentioned above found the opportunity and then he keenly passed the responsibility of gas and wash to the bailee taxi drivers without any compensation whatsoever to them. He did so despite strenuous objections made to him by myself and other drivers.

The net impact is the weaker party in the chain is carrying the burden while taxi bosses and non active plate investors etc. are laughing all the way to the bank contrary to the public and workers interest. Not long after the TWU lawyer Adam Hatcher found a chamber at the higher end of the town and became a Barrister! The then NSW TWU boss (Secretary) Steve Hutchins became the president of the NSW Labor Party and eventually a Senator after gaining the number one or first selection on the Senate ballot paper.

For your kind information I am appending some interesting discussions amongst taxi industry activists below.

I therefore would like to request you to open an investigation on why at the time and even to this day:

1. NSW TWU leaders and their then lawyer ignored bailee taxi drivers requests?

2. NSW TWU leaders and their then lawyer compromised bailee taxi drivers welfare and interest?

3. NSW TWU leaders and their then lawyer conspired to wrongfully manipulate the Granville Strike mentioned above?

4. NSW TWU leaders and their then lawyer frog marched mock members (from the Granville strike and many of whom confessed the illegalities and wrongful actions to me later) to the NSW IRC mentioned above to misrepresent bailee drivers in general?

5. NSW TWU leaders and their then lawyer never made any application to oppose the unlawful arrangement of the payment for fuel and wash as they promised to CC Connor in NSW IRC Matter No 2383 of 1993?

6. Did the NSW TWU leaders and lawyer obtain any benefit out of such a compromise?

7. Why did CC Connor allow this ugly and blatant deal to go ahead without any examination?

8. Did CC Connor gain any benefit for his action and inaction in taxi matters in front of him?

9. Why did CC Connor refuse to accept a labor component in his decision?

With thanks

Sincerely Yours

Faruque Ahmed






Ghost and Gas – No Conspiracies


According to the law of the land, the bailor is responsible for fuel and wash.

However, at the Industrial Relations Commission the "taxi mafia" made an application to pass the responsibility of fuel and wash to the bailees without any compensation whatsoever.



Further to ICAC Submission, long long ago; a "phantom strike" was called at Granville Taxi Base, Sydney, NSW of the `lucky country'! The TWU trouble shooter named Robert Mayell who used to work around the adjacent area quickly went over there and negotiated a settlement! The `Pay-in' went down by five dollars!!


The following day, a number of taxi drivers were frog marched behind the "messiah" Robert Mayell at the Industrial Commission in front of CC Connor (NSW IRC Matter No 2383 of 1993).


No one is suggesting any conspiracy here! Poor Faruque and a few taxi drivers busted in anger and confronted the "messiah" Robert Mayell and the Transport Workers Union lawyer Adam Hatcher. During that time those new taxi drivers of Granville asked Faruque to be quiet and follow Mayell. Faruque told them, "I do not know who you are and I have not seen you in any of TWU meetings earlier – who are you people and what is the game going on here"?


Later many of these people confessed to Faruque and others that they were not even members of the TWU, many of them were not financial members of the union and the taxi bosses encouraged them to join in the TWU!


During the proceedings, the TWU lawyer said to CC Connor, "we reserve the right to oppose at a later date".


The good CC Connor found the opportunity and then he keenly passed the responsibility of gas and wash to the bailees without any compensation whatsoever. He did so despite strenuous objections made to him by Faruque and other drivers.


The decision by CC Connor did not change the bailor/bailee remuneration principle or law, but he made a decision which was not opposed by the parties.
A few weeks later the LPG price jumped from $A0.20-$A0.30/L to $A0.50-$A0.60/L.


An application was made to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on a different ground. After a futile exercise, the price went down for a while.


Today, who is increasing the LPG price and on what basis no one knows or cares. The net impact is the weaker party in the chain is carrying the burden while "taxi mafia" is laughing all the way to the bank. The TWU lawyer Adam Hatcher found a chamber at the higher end of the town and become a BARRISTER! The good union boss Steve Hutchins became the president of the NSW Labor Party and eventually a number one ticket SENATOR from NSW.


Taxi drivers made an appeal to the Full Bench.


After a long and costly exercise, we found out that only the TWU have the right to represent taxi drivers at the Industrial Commission! During that hearing the rights and wrongs of the actual case were not discussed.


That means, in reality the court said the TWU can do whatever they like and they can ignore their own taxi driver members all together or their welfare! They are virtually not answerable to anyone. The union bosses do not have to follow justice, fairness, courtesy or common sense! Since then the union removed a few bi-laws of their own constitution i.e. they don't have to advance the well being of their own members". The law is same today.


Whether we drivers like it or not, even if the TWU got any taxi driver members or not they will decide the bailee taxi drivers working conditions. No matter, how sad, immoral and unlawful they are.


Faruque and others used to expose them in the media. However, the union bosses used to make attempts to trap taxi drivers and block them from the media, parliament, etc. etc. Some of the documents are very revealing.


I say, the most tragic thing of my life is that knowing and dealing with the NSW Transport Workers Union.



Thursday, December 20, 2007





Ted Hirsch wrote:


From memory, about 4-5 weeks ago gas rose to a minimum 55/ litre and up to 70/litre.After cabbies got used to the shock, then a week or two ago it rose to minimum 65/litre and up to 75/litre.Did you say price gouging, Brian? Tut, tut. But Yes, getting our Media Manager onto it sounds worthwhile!


On Wed 19Dec07 in the SMH, Gordon Samuels announced that the ACCC inquiry had NOT found any evidence of petrol price collusion. And Coles and Woolies dockets were cleared from accusations of higher shelf prices. Independent servos disappearing was is part of a long term trend, although they are hotly contesting this finding (self interest obviously). It is proposed to introduce a daily petrol price information scheme, popular in WA and which has reduced volatile price changes to once per day. By 4pm the next day's price is shown on the computer. No mention of gas prices or gouging by the ACCC, of course. Our in house historian


Mr. Ahmed, tells of an IRC "temporary decision" some years ago which, thanks to the TWU made drivers pay for fuel, whereas previously Bailors paid (or bailors/ bailees split the costs?).


Faruque reckons taking this to the IRC for review is too difficult and costly. He reckons Parliament, somehow. Any specific advice, Faruque? Ernie suggest IPART gives us a handout for fuel price increases. That's the easiest approach, no doubt, albeit in June/July from memory and a massive amount of work if we do the full Monty! (Should IPART be added to our Calendar?) (BTW, why are radio jobs so poorly returned, Ernie?


Cheers to all.

Ted

Ernie Mollenhauer wrote:


As bus fares have just been increased, their explanation being increased costs, I reckon there are more than reasonable grounds to pester IPART for an increase in taxi fares. The other string in the bow would be the currently poor responses to radio booking which are now even less attractive than before. Is there support for a claim, (seeking to leave the meters alone) for an increase in the radio booking fee to say $3 so they can knock us back to $2?


Ernie



On 19/12/2007, Brian Ridge < brianfridge@...> wrote:



To the committee, Last night while filling my cab with gas at the Legion base at 65.9 cents per litre another driver told me he had narrowly avoided paying 74.9 at Crows Nest, and he estimated that it was costing him about $100 a week extra. My recollection is that when the fare rates were increased back about July the cost of gas rose from about 48 to 52 cents per litre. If my memory is correct that equates to about a 40% rise in less than 6 months. The term "price gouging" springs to mind. I am wondering whether the NSWTDA could do a bit of probing and perhaps create a bit of noise so that these prices are justified.


Brian

Austro_Bangla


The Transport Workers Union and its failure to represent Taxi Drivers Interests

Since the narration below the TWU went on and sold out taxi drivers at every available opportunity. If you recall, last time I have decided not to attend the hearing and some of you thought, may be, the TWU would do the right thing! To our frustration they did worse! Now you are the judge!

4. The Transport Workers Union and its failure to represent Taxi Driver Interests

From the outset it must be stated I am not a "union basher" but an active unionist and someone who fervently believes that unions must serve those who pay their wages - the membership. In the early part of this campaign I helped build the TWU Taxi Drivers Section membership up into the hundreds. The fall off in TWU membership renewal subscriptions was directly related to their complete dereliction of duty to their members and sabotaging of members initiatives. A letter was sent to the head of the ACTU (Jenny George) pointing out nine (9) specific breaches of the law by the bailors (as identified by the Justice Edwards investigation into the taxi industry in 1940 and which were identified by the Full Bench of the Industrial Commission in 1960 as still existing). These concerned matters such as the employers/bailors having responsibility for the payment of fuel and wash, the overcharging of drivers -beyond the gazetted rate, etc. The letter pointed out that these practices were still continuing in 1995.[A1-4]



It is self-evident from all the correspondence between myself and government instrumentalities that the NSW Transport Workers Union is regarded as the industry-wide advocate of employee/bailee drivers and the legitimate counterpart to the employer TIA/Taxi Council" body before industrial courts. Indeed, Commissioner Connor in various hearings has attempted to maintain that the TWU is the only employee/bailee representative with locus standi during his hearings.




The TWU internal structure consists of sectional interest membership groups that represent the different types of transport workers in NSW. The (TWU) Taxi Drivers Section to which I was elected Secretary for the period 1993-96 and President from 1996 until now has actively pursued the interests of bailee drivers both inside and outside the Industrial Courts despite the fact that the full time TWU executive has attempted to undermine honest and genuine trade union organisation.



The problem that ICAC must confront relates to examining the implications that flow when the TWU full-time Executive (including TWU/TDS organiser(s}) have been compromised by their "Taxi Council" counterparts to such an extent that no fair-minded person would consider they are still acting in their members interests. Consider their stand on the following issues: Contract Determination/84 that denied a basic wage to bailees, Variation/85-89 that approved unfair pay-in rises, Interim Variation/April 96 legalised seven years of illegal pay-in collections, /Appeal to Full Bench/96, appeared before court to assist TIA case against their own members, Business expenses of Bailors shifted to workers/Sept'96 (i.e. who pays for gas/wash),The $1 flag fall Rise sellout Sept'96 (pay-ins rise $40 a day, takings down 20% or more).



The issue of bribery and acceptance of gifts and other financial inducements are documented in various political science text books and press articles on certain occasions when the NSW Branch of the TWU has come up for mention. (Two examples here are Marian Wilkinson's, `The Fixer', Heinemann, 1996, at p.xi and The National Times revelations in the 1980s). While it would be wrong to expect the ICAC to canvass the relative merits of the collectivist versus individual contract argument currently raging in the broader political arena, or even examine whether the industrial relations tactics of the NSW TWU leadership are defensible from the viewpoint of the union's own self-interest, there remains examples where apparent conflicts of interests could be legitimately examined by ICAC as part of a broader study of the public service-Ministerial-employer-union interactions that preceded all major decisions concerning the taxi industry.



In the light of all this history, can the ICAC regard the ongoing response of Minister's offices, the DOT and the DIR alike, where by they refer back to the TWU virtually all legitimate bailee complaints and pleas for help concerning industry wrong doings. Is this simply a case of naivety or even containment? The evidence suggests that this practice is corruption of public office if only in the sense that it is a denial of natural justice and a fair hearing of individual stakeholders interests within the taxi industry? I cite my own attempts (on behalf of numerous taxi drivers) to obtain information/action from public servants who constantly refer me back to the TWU even after I have explained that such an avenue is not open.



In reality it amounts to a policy of shoring -up and protecting a union leadership to prevent the emergence of any group who wish to democratise their union leadership in the interests of workers/bailee drivers and the community as a whole who are served by those same drivers. In short, if there is, as alleged by many drivers, a "protection racket" between the TIA and TWU leadership, why does the government and its departments actively foster and encourage it? For example, a full time union organiser, in denying the Union's complicity in the $1 fare rise conspiracy, went as far as alleging to two separate newspaper journalists, that it was the "Taxi Council and not the union, that "bought off" the Minister into accepting the $1rise. (details available). Another example here is the issue of whether the TWU leader Steve Hutchins brought pressure to bear on the NSW Labor Council Secretary Michael Costa to cancel a meeting planned between the Health & Safety Officer of the Labor Council, the Minister for Industrial Relations, Jeff Shaw and a delegation of 5-6 legitimate representatives of the TWU Taxi Drivers Section to discuss the crucial issue of taxi driver safety on 13th August 1996. [STD-10], [V-15]

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption



The Taxi Council P/L Myth

Further to the short history of Taxi Council P/L below, the TCPL was not registered under any law for a long time. Today this mythical body is neither registered as a business name under the NSW Consumer Affairs nor as an association under the state or federal Industrial Relations Acts. A few years ago I obtained some obscure documents from the ASIC regarding the TCPL. In those documents the TCPL claimed that they are educating public, industry, etc through their "Meter" and The Assistant Federal Treasurer's office gave them some strange registration. On that time my inkling was that the TCPL could be de-registered.

Now, good taxi industry activists, we don't have to worry about the "brown hands" or "Brownie". We can do something about ourselves and defeat our

common enemies.




The Emergence of the "Taxi


Council".

3. The Emergence of the "Taxi Council".


In the late 1960s the Full Bench of the Industrial Commission, echoing the Justice Edwards Report from the 1940s, pointed out that the taxi companies exercised an unfair advantage over their bailee drivers to the extent that they were able to avoid their legal responsibilities to the drivers. A number of recommendations were made for industry reform. To head off these recommendations the taxi companies decided to embark upon a major public relations campaign. They hired a well-known public figure (and former politician) Sir Asher Joel to investigate the industry and then produce a report entitled "Sir Asher Joel's Motivational Survey Report". The Joel Report supported the major finding of the Industrial Commission concerning driver exploitation. In his final recommendations he argued for the establishment of a "Taxi Advisory Council" (TAC) comprised of "representatives of the taxi industry (drivers, owners, etc), Dept. of Transport, Police and a Consumer group". [0-2]




The Taxi Advisory Council was established in the 1970s to "advise the Minister". Whatever its shortcomings the TAC at least provided some vigorous debate amongst the taxi industry stake holders. The TAC was abolished in 1988 by the incoming Liberal Party Transport Minister Bruce Baird. This created a vacuum whereby there was no longer a community or industry-wide input into the formulation of the official taxi industry policy. This vacuum was filled by the heads of the employer body (TIA) creating a "non-registered body"[Q2], with "no status under the law" [Q6]. The TIA called this body "The Taxi Council".




The "Taxi Council" was established in the early 1990s and unilaterally assumed the multi-pronged role of industry spokes person, government adviser and media public relations, when in effect, it was nothing more than a self-appointed mouthpiece for a small coterie of individuals drawn from the Boards of Directors of the major Co-operatives. In reality it came down to three people calling the shots - Reg Kermode, Bob Morrow and John Bowe. Perhaps fearing that their claim to legitimacy may become questioned, the "Taxi Council" announced in the November-December 1991 edition of their own publication "Taxi" that, "…. The operation of the NSW Taxi Council ceased on the 31.3.1990 and thereafter was carried on by the NSW Taxi Industry Association". The sensitivity of this misnomer became apparent when the "Taxi Council" appeared before the Hylde Rolfe Inquiry in the 1993. Submissions by worker representatives to Hylda Rolfe asked the question "Who is the Taxi Council?". The issue of the status of the "Taxi Council" was raised again three months later before the Federal Industrial Commission. For unknown reasons the TIA/"Taxi Council" appeared here under the name of the "Taxi Industry Council".



However, once the heat was off, (i.e. following the Minister for Transport, Bruce Baird, filing and burying the positive recommendations of the Hilda Rolfe Report), the bailors lobby resumed the use of the name "Taxi Council" in their public relations documents and newsletters. The "Taxi Council" again claimed to be the industry. They recommenced their duplicity and regularly issued biased public statements as though they were the entire taxi industry. Before long, letters announcing pending changes in the industry were again being circulated to owners and drivers jointly countersigned by the Minister and the "Taxi Council".



Driver reps continued to question, via correspondence to government departments, the legitimacy of the "Taxi Council" to speak for one and all. Thus in one reply, written in the closing days of the Baird administration, (on the 25th November 1994), a letter from Pamela Sayers, Director Vehicle Transport Policy Development, acknowledged that the "Taxi Council" was an organisation "made up of taxi co-operatives, companies and owners" and was only "accountable to its members", and therefore, was not accountable to bailee drivers, nor the traveling public, nor any other users of taxi services. [02] Despite this clarification as to the very limited nature of the composition of the "Taxi Council" by this senior departmental bureaucrat, the "Taxi Council" itself, continued to purport to speak on behalf of the whole industry.




In a separate letter to the Taxi Industry Services Association/T.l.S.A. (an organisation representing non-owner driver interests) in February 1995 Sayers refined her argument. She maintained that the "Taxi Council" was not "appointed" as a "co-regulator" of the industry. It was merely a case whereby "Government Departments consider the views of representatives of industries affected by Government decisions". She argued that ". ...license holders and their Networks are accountable to the Department for the standards of taxi service delivery especially in relation to radio booking services and vehicle presentation." [0-9] One could ask here why weren't the "Taxi Council" or "Networks" made "accountable" for frequent breaches of the Occupational Health & Safety Act and Public Transport Act. There has never been one prosecution by the Department.


A revealing letter indicating exactly how the "Taxi Council" had co-opted both the Ministry and the bureaucracy to do its bidding was issued by the incoming Labor Party Minister for Transport, Brian Langton, (on the 3rd of August 1995). [06] In his potted history on the issue, evidently drafted from within the bureaucracy, Langton maintained the Taxi Advisory Council (TAC) was replaced by the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) in 1990 which was renamed the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) in early 1994. He claimed that the shift from TAC to JIC and then JCC represented "no qualitative change inthe consultative relationship that has existed between the Department of Transport and other taxi industry stake holders".[Q6]


Yet on further reading, the Minister's letter revealed there was indeed ``qualitative change'' in the ``consultative relationship'' between ``industry stake holders". He identified the "Taxi Council" as "a member" of the JCC which had "opportunity to make representations on behalf of its members" (identified earlier as "taxi licensees and operators", i.e. bailor/owners). He further argued it was "appropriate" for his department "to seek the views of such a body when considering regulatory options affecting the taxi industry". All of this flowed, he also revealed, because the new "consultative mechanism" under the JIC in 1990 was one of "co-regulation under the Passenger Transport Act, 1990".[Q6]


The Minister and his Department are essentially saying they have an obligation to consult with the "Taxi Council" - i.e. Kermode and Bowe - because the Department (under the JIC) "co-regulates" the industry with the "Taxi Council". Indeed, as a letter to a taxi driver, concerned with the issue of the privacy of departmental computer records, revealed, "co-regulation" extended as far as a contractual arrangement between the Dept. and the "Taxi Council': one governing the release of personal files from the Department to the Taxi Networks. John Stott, the Acting Director General of the Dept. of Transport in his reply to this driver stated: ".. ..The Dept. of Transport and the NSW Taxi Council negotiated a contractual agreement whereby the Dept. may grant a very limited "view" access to certain records contained in its database of public transport drivers and operators [T6].




But the contradictions are everywhere! The Stott letter fell within the same time-frame as Minister Langton's letter assuring everybody there was no "special relationship" between the Taxi Council and the Department. If this was the case why weren't other "stake holders" informed or consulted over contractual arrangements governing the release of private computer database information on individual taxi drivers and owners? A more thorough examination of this issue would reveal that misuse of private data on individuals is a common practice throughout the industry. Neither the TWU, TISA, the Privacy Committee, other concerned individuals were allowed a say on this "co -regulatory" contractual arrangement, were they?





The Minister further contradicts himself by arguing "the changes brought about by the implementation of the Passenger Transport Act1990", (by this he means "co-regulation" of the industry with the "Taxi Council), have "no effect on the individual rights of taxi drivers". Clearly these changes do. The driver's union and other representative bodies are excluded from the consultative process under "co-regulation". Under "co-regulation", the 1990 "Code of Conduct" (for drivers), made it an offence for drivers to do or say anything that was "detrimental to the (taxi co-operative) network". Even writing this submission to ICAC is a breach of the "Code of Conduct" for which the punishment is the possible withdrawal of the privilege of driving for the network. Even if the network is guilty of breaking the law, it is still an offence to publicise law-breaking by the network because it is by definition "conduct detrimental". [01-8].



I0t should also be noted here that the Minister [06 & AM2] and his Department [09] have argued that all financial arrangements between owners and drivers "do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Dept(DOT)." but fall under the Industrial Relations Act. Clearly the "Taxi Council's" "co-regulatory" power was responsible for the $40 a day increase in pay-ins after the announcement of the $1 flagfall rise in June 1996 by the Minister for Transport. This was self-evident from the Minister's press conference where he was seated between the Taxi Council and Bus & Coaches Association spokes people (both employer groups) without any presence or acknowledgment of involvement by the TWU or bailee groups. His Director General went as far as issuing a directive for the immediate imposition of this flagfall increase which the' Taxi Council" in turn used to justify a $40a day rise in driver pay-ins totally outside any consideration by the Industrial Courts.


The extent to which the "Taxi Council" dictates policy for the industry as a whole was self-evident from a comprehensive article in the Australian Financial Review (FR24.4.98, p.18). [FRA]l clearly demonstrated the extent of the "Taxi Council's" influence in the taxi industry. Their President, Reg Kermode's statement concerning competition in the taxi industry was a case in point. Even though seven of the eleven (radio) networks existing in Sydney are under Mr Kermode's influence, (through his control of the TCS Radio Network) he still maintained that "competition is strong" in the industry. Really? The Australian newspaper (15.6.98) and the Sun Herald(22.6.97) tell a different story about the Sydney taxi industry.[TAA]. These articles show the performance of the NSW taxi industry compares unfavorably to all other capital cities. Not surprisingly the fleets of the other cities are peppered with ex-Sydney drivers who have voted their lack of confidence in the Sydney taxi establishment with their feet. [See also NPA1, NPA2 and NPA3].

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

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