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Minicab drivers in walkout over outsourcing and safety fears at Swiss Cottage firm

PUBLISHED: 13:15 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:15 05 December 2018

Drivers inside the iRide office where they are told the owner is not there. They phone him to talk about their concerns. Picture: Polly Hancock

Drivers inside the iRide office where they are told the owner is not there. They phone him to talk about their concerns. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Minicab drivers with iRide London in Finchley Road have walked out over what they see as safety concerns about call handling being outsourced to India.

Drivers arrive at iRide office 311 Finchley Rd NW3 where they were set to meet with the owner over their concerns. Picture: Polly HancockDrivers arrive at iRide office 311 Finchley Rd NW3 where they were set to meet with the owner over their concerns. Picture: Polly Hancock

Last month, 13 drivers visited the offices, which used to be home to Swiss Cottage Cars, to complain after a controller was made redundant, and about calls they made to the office being directed to a call centre in India.

Drivers for the firm say controllers outside the capital don’t have an understanding of London, and there is also no support for workers who get into trouble and need to call the local office.

Leslie Lawrence, 54, said: “We’re sticking up for them. The drivers are extremely good and this is unfair. One driver was attacked while working, and rang the office for help but got through to India.”

However, when they arrived at the office to meet Rajendra Jethwa, a director of iRide London, he wasn’t there. Drivers later spoke to him by phone.

“We wanted them to listen to us. When we spoke to the manager afterwards, he said he would look into the issues and get back to us. He hasn’t, and nothing has changed,”said Mr Lawrence.

Drivers register for iRide as self-employed, and they are then given jobs accordingly when they are on shift.

Mr Lawrence, and other cab drivers, have since resigned over the problems.

iRide London has operated from Finchley Road since 2015, and has two directors, Justin Peters and Rajendra Jethwa.

Mr Peters is also a director for minicab price comparison app Kabbee.

Speaking on behalf of iRide, Mr Peters declined to comment on the issues.

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