London minicab drivers block major road in protest against Sadiq Khan's congestion charge

Southwark Protest

Monday, January 14, 2019

Private hire drivers have blocked a major road in London in protest against a new congestion charge.

From April 8, private hire vehicles, including minicabs, will no longer be exempt from a daily £11.50 rate for driving in central London.

Around 100 drivers gathered outside Southwark tube station to protest the change in rules, which were proposed by Transport for London last year in an effort to improve the capital's air quality.

Protesters outside Southwark tube station. Image: Samantha King

Protesters carried flags and banners which read 'Sadiq is driving us into poverty' and 'Charge Uber, not drivers'.

The protest was organised by the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain's (IWGB) United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch, who believe the charge could result in workers losing up to 25 per cent of their take home pay.

Protester Simon, who has been a minicab driver for three years, told talkRADIO: "This is affecting the drivers, the customers, and the people of London. That is why I am here today.

Drivers stand in the road carrying union-branded flags. Image: Samantha King

"This is our main income for our life and our families. If I lose this job I'm going to have a problem within my family, which is not good."

He added: "This is not only about the drivers. This is about the people who live in London. If we stop, people are not going to have the service that they used to."