SaveOurBlackCabs: Support grows for Unite’s campaign as Boris gets blasted!
In a response to a letter sent by UNITE Assistant General Secretary Tony Burke, Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills has given his full support to the union’s campaign. To add your support, visit: www.facebook.com/SaveOurBlackCabs and leave a message. Or sign Unite’s on-line petition at: www.unitetheunion.org
Chuka Umunna’s reply to Tony Burke…
Boris Johnson blasted over Coventry-made LTI black cabs
By Les Reid, Coventry Telegraph Dec 19 2012
A COVENTRY MP has accused London mayor Boris Johnson of reneging on a pledge to do all he can to support crisis-hit Coventry black cab maker LTI.
The Conservative mayor, in a letter replying to a request from Labour Coventry North-west MP Geoffrey Robinson, ruled out relaxing carbon emission rules to enable older LTI cabs to stay on the capital’s roads.
It was one measure sought to help ease the current crisis, with LTI in administration.
Mr Robinson blasted the London major for “hypocrisy” over the letter, dated December 7.
We reported last week Mr Johnson, in a letter to union Unite, vowed to do “everything in his power to ensure a secure future for cab drivers”, and added: “Please take this letter as proof of my support for your campaign to keep the black cab on the streets.”
Mr Johnson’s letter to Mr Robinson ruled out suspending a 15-year age limit for black cabs on London streets.
The mayor’s letter to Mr Robinson states: “I do not believe there is a need to consider a relaxation of the 15 year age limit. This would present significant difficulties in relation to my air quality strategy and in meeting stringent legal European air quality targets.”
Mr Johnson also states black taxis are a “significant contributor” to “harmful emissions” in central London, which had some of the capital’s “biggest air quality challenges”.
Mr Robinson said: “It is hypocrisy. The mayor pretends to help, but the reality is he wouldn’t even relax the clean air policy.”
The issue was raised by Coventry South Labour MP Jim Cunningham and the unions when a delegation met with Conservative business minister Michael Fallon last week.
Mr Cunningham said: “We have been asking for a temporary change in the rules. We fully understand London’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
“The minister has said he will look into it, and I am writing to Boris Johnson requesting he consider the matter further.
“We had a productive meeting with the minister, who fully supported our calls for the black cabs to remain in production in the UK.”
As we reported yesterday, there was better news as administrators PricewaterhouseCooper of the firm’s parent company Manganese Bronze Holdings said all 401 TX4 vehicles recalled in October, with faulty steering boxes, had now been repaired and were back on the road.
The administrator also revealed work will begin on fitting new steering replacement systems on more than 600 new and unregistered vehicles which had come off the production line in Coventry.
PwC said it remains in advanced, positive talks with potential buyers for the loss-making firm, where 12 production staff laid off in October returned to work this week.
A total of 99 workers in Coventry have been made redundant.