GMB union members will mark Worker Memorial Day (Monday, April 28) by holding a demonstration outside Parliament before a briefing meeting for MPs
It’s on what the union calls the growing problem of violent attacks on drivers by their passengers. GMB is campaigning for assistance with funding CCTV and shields in licensed mini cab and hackney carriage vehicles following a spate of serious attacks on drivers over the past months that left 12 of them dead at the hands of their passengers.
The protestors will have a placards and a banner saying “GMB says CCTV and shields will save drivers lives”.
The latest attack information collected by the GMB Professional Drivers Branch between January to April 2008 shows that there have been 15 knife attacks, 11 gun attacks and 23 attacks by other weapons. This is a total of 49 attacks – three of which involved have involved women drivers. This has also led to 3 fatalities. GMB member Zia Ahmed, a London mini cab driver who was attacked in February 2008 will tell the MPs briefing meeting about the attack he suffered at the hands of his passenger when he drove to Greenwich Police Station he was informed that the police would not come to his aid during the attack.
These attacks have occurred since earlier GMB research shows that in April 2007 a mini cab driver in Sheffield as killed in a gun attack by a passenger that he was carrying at the time. A few days later another mini cab driver as killed by a passenger in Keighley, Yorkshire. In May a driver in Gravesend was run over by his own cab and killed by his passenger. In July two more drivers, one in Essex and the other in Huddersfield, were killed by their passengers. In September two mini cab drivers in Sunderland were killed by their passengers. In November the same happened to a driver in Nottingham and in December a driver was killed in a knife attack in Berkshire. Overall in the same period there were 45 serious assaults with knives, guns, hammers, screwdrivers and fists which resulted in the nine fatalities in the towns listed above. These reports were pulled together from reports in the local press by GMB Professional Driver Branch.
The introduction of CCTV cameras in mini cabs in Sheffield has led to a 72 per cent reduction in attacks on drivers. Bradford Council allows advertising on cabs for the sole purpose of funding CCTV in cabs.
Paul Kenny, General Secretary: “There is nothing to stop the provision of protective shields and CCTV for licensed mini cab drivers vehicles and hackney carriage drivers apart from the indifference to their plight by the authorities that should be looking out for their welfare. Everyone uses the services these GMB members provide. I think that most people are amazed to hear that these drivers are risk for their lives from some members of the public they serve. I call on the labour movement to put its entire weight behind this GMB safety campaign.”
The information on the 94 attacks on licensed mini cab drivers and Hackney carriage drivers between April 2007 and April 2008 was collated by the GMB Professional Drivers Branch. The source was reports in local media across the UK. The Branch may have missed reports of attacks. The Branch has continued to updated the data and will publish the results on a regular basis.