Wednesday, 4 July 2012

guess who ?

Hello !!!

Is anybody still there ???

If anyone is still reading here I expect you might be wondering where I've been.

Or if I took one too many happy pills, got over the mentalpause and am left with nothing to complain about or have an opinion on.
Yeah right.

What I have been mostly doing with my spare time in the evening is ebay. I had a massive clear out a few weeks ago and decided to list my huge pile of crap unwanted stuff, which then led to my deciding that as a) I do need a bit more income but b) I really can't be arsed to find another job, that perhaps with a bit of effort I could actually properly supplement my income with it.
The good news is it's going well, I've made about £200 in a month, half of which has been reinvested in buying up a few small job lots to (hopefully) sell on individually for a profit.

It's been a learning curve - more then you might think - and the pearls of wisdom gained will be shared in the next post.
So that'll be in three months time then.
Maybe not but don't hold your breadth.
So anyway . . .

What has finally driven me back to blogger is something that I heard a few days ago, which really pissed me off, and which I have in a way checked out for myself since and came to the conclusion that what I was told was correct.

Some things are a constant in my life - like being late for work, and at times I have got a cab from my house to the station in an effort to claim back the ten minutes that some bastard breaks into my house and steals in the morning. (If only I could catch him and get those minutes back, I'd probably have enough time for a whole day of sleep). It's a 15 minute walk to the train station but less then 5 in a cab, not great for the taxi driver I'm sure but a jobs a job and actually if I really gave in to my inner sloth wanted to there's nothing says I couldn't call one just to the end of the road.
To actually get a taxi all the way to work would cost me £20.
That's a cab drivers idea of a good job.
And obviously not something I can afford to do.

There was a day last week when I was needed to be in work early and had promised I would, but of course being me I laid awake until the early hours worrying that I wouldn't get up and then as usual managed to oversleep. I rang a cab for the station but checked the time and realised that I would still miss the next train, so by the time the taxi turned up I had decided to treat myself and get it to take me all the way to work.

In this town there is really only one taxi company, there used to be lots of them but this one slowly bought them all out. Over the last couple of years they have gotten more and more foreign drivers - in fact when I thought about it after the conversation that I'll get to in a bit, it was always a foreign driver that picked me up when I got one in the morning.
It was last week, a guy from Romania.
He pulled up outside my house and I got in and explained that I had changed my mind and now wanted to make the longer journey, he seemed very pleased when I told him.
So we get talking.
And he tells me that NONE of the foreign drivers are ever given the decent jobs, airport runs, long distance journeys, they only ever get given the short jobs, especially during rush hour when traffic around the town is slow. I was a bit disgusted at that, discrimination is discrimination however it comes and it makes me fucking sick. If you're good enough for them to employ you then you should be entitled to the same work as everyone else, and we have employment laws in this country that are supposed to protect workers from injustice. And these drivers are all here legally, they have to be to get a cabbie license. The guy whose cab I was in told me he had lived here for seven years and held dual nationality. So of course being me I voiced my disgust at this very loudly.

And that meant that the driver, who was a really nice fella (no, not like that, he was young enough to be my son) realised I suppose that I am not one of the they-come-over-here-and-take-all-our-jobs-and-deserve-to-be-treated-like-shit brigade, so he opened up to me a bit more.
Get this. . .

Not only do the company actively recruit foreign drivers that are already resident in this country, they actually advertise in Poland for drivers to come here. In the advert they promise help with the paperwork, finding accommodation and a weekly income of around £1000. They charge them £2000 for this service - which is a fucking lot more money to them then the average British citizen - and it's a fucking HUGE amount of money to most of us. So they borrow the money from whoever they can, sometimes that will be loan sharks, but more often then not from family members, because they are obviously under the impression that they will be able to earn it back very quickly once they get here.

It's all lies.

First of all they aren't given any help with any paperwork. But they are given a room that they have to share in flats that are owned by the taxi company at a cost of £100 per week.
(To put that in perspective I live in a three bedroomed, two living roomed house and I pay £450 a month).
And that £100 is roughly what they have left of their actual wages after the taxi company have taken their weekly cut for the use of the car.
All drivers pay that, but there are three different prices. The lowest is paid by the English drivers (about £150pw), the foreign but resident drivers pay about £250 and the Polish recruits have to pay £350. The only drivers that don't have to pay that are the ones that own their own cars - however they only allow the English drivers the option to do that.

And on top of that they are only ever given the shitty little jobs, and they, unlike English drivers who can choose when they work, are told when they must work. My cabbie told me that the system is that all drivers have an automated thing in their cabs so that when a job comes in if they are free, or going to be near the pick up they hit a button, the control will then buzz them back to say the job is theirs, and it is supposed to be that the first person to respond gets the job. But he told me that he has stopped bothering to respond when it is a decent job because he now knows that he will never get it.

Makes me fucking sick.
I really didn't think that things like that were allowed to go on anymore. If you work in any other environment and you feel you are being discriminated against in ANY way you can go to a tribunal. But these drivers are out on the road, they can't prove they responded first because they just don't know for sure if anyone else did reply quicker. But when you NEVER get the decent work that is not an unfortunate coincidence.

I suggested he go and see a solicitor.
Because it's not just about the lack of decent jobs, it's the other stuff as well.
Sounds to me like it's not a million miles away from the slavery and people trafficking that goes on in the sex trade. These men (and they are all men) might come here willingly, but it's on a false promise that leaves the family they left behind with no means of getting paid back the money leant to bring them here, or possibly under threat if they borrowed the money from sharks. They don't complain, apart from amongst themselves, because once they are here they need the job. As cab drivers are effectively self-employed there is nothing they can do if the company decided not to give them any work - and if they can't pay their rent then they're homeless, and they can't really go home until they find the money to pay back the loan they had to get here.
Even if they had the plane fare home.
Which they don't, because they can't afford to save.

My cabbie said he has spoken to someone, and that I should keep an eye on the local paper in the coming weeks. I really hope so. Someone needs to.

Since I had that conversation I have run a little test.
Three times since I have needed a cab to make a short journey, every time they sent a foreign driver. Yesterday I called one and said I needed to go on the longer journey ( I didn't, when he got here I said I had changed my mind and was getting a train so just to the station) and they sent an English driver.

Cunts. Racist fucking cunts.
I will NOT be getting one of their cabs again, and if I really have to, because the fucking arsehole that runs it put all the other taxi companies out of business, then I will call and say I am just going up the road so they send a foreigner, change my mind, AND give him a good tip when I get out.

In other news the size of my family has increased by three.
My friend and her Son arrived on Friday and it's been great. It's really nice to have the company and living with a six year old is proving to be an interesting and entertaining experience. I'm sure there will be a few funny posts to come as a result of that.

And you may remember we lost Sons beloved cat a little while ago, well on Monday we got this. . .

I know I said I wasn't going to get another cat, but could you resist that face ?

So anyway, if anyone read this, hope you're all ok. I'll try and catch up on some reading over the weekend.


  1. I'm still here Cowgirl. Here and livid. Though smiling at the adorable kitty cat. I couldn't resist that face. I could understand putting them on the short journey if they were bad with English. They would have to take less directions and might not be good for conversation, but when it's people who have been here seven years and have dual nationality? That's pretty fucked up. Add in the lying to them about their pay and their work to entice them, and you have something seriously bad there that I hope some one gets in trouble for. Maybe you should get some kind of personal phone number for the foreign guys so you can book them specifically. My stepdad's a cabbie and he does that. He takes private requests as well. He even had me print up cards for him when I was younger. Anyway, for now, keep booking small journeys (but make them longer and tip well like you do) and hopefully the situation can be changed.

  2. Awww! I love the cat. You're right. How can you resist? :D Good luck with the Ebay thing. And your work :D

  3. I volunteered for this organization that helped illegal farm workers in my city. It was horrible. They farmers advertized in Mexico, reeled people in with false promises, and abused them once they came to California. The workers were made to pay sixty percent of their paycheck for rent. It was this horrible building with no running water. There, they stayed with up to eight different people in a one bedroom apartment. I have no idea how any of this is legal.

  4. That discrimination is terrible! I hope the cabbie has some success in changing things. And i can see why you couldn't resist that kitten!!!

  5. I still read your blog DCG, I'm no Hasidic Plumber though haha, great post, I love the photo of the cat, it's way too cute.

  6. OMFG! That is absolutely ridiculous. I hope he can help put a stop to it. Here too we have a lot of people who talk about "fucking foreigners taking our jobs".... Well unless you are native, your relatives were the fucking foreigners here. I hate that attitude. Anybody who is willing to do a job properly deserves to be treated as a valued employee.
    That kitten is too freaking cute.

  7. I love the kitty and hate the racist cab company bastards. Discrimination goes on all the time and the government hardly ever does anything about it. Right now I hate everybody except you and a couple of other people and my children and my dogs. I have missed you, my pretend lesbian lover.


  8. sometimes, it's hard to believe people can get away with such horrid behaviour.

    i hope they do go to the solicitor. i hope this gets more attention and more exposure.

    i hope your new little fuzzhead doesn't drive you around the bend. hehe ... good luck with that one xoxo

  9. Cowgirl...that story is infuriating. That this can still go on in any country calling itself civilized with almost no recourse is crazy. Gald you back but since I been under th radar the last three weeks I really didn't know you were gone ;) Cute pussy by the way.

  10. It's good to see you back. Good luck with the ebay - can't wait to hear the update on it because my hubby is going to be selling stuff soon too.

    That discrimination is a disgrace! I agree - Grrrrr!

  11. I've heard of this - all difficult - the owners say the Polish work harder and are more polite to customers etc. What is right? I don't know - however if you are discriminated against for being English surely that is against the laws that our forefathers fought to preserve

  12. I'm here :) will you let us know if you see any stories in the paper, I would like to know how it turns out. Maybe I'll see it on the news here's hoping!

  13. (shaking fist) UGH! People. I hate them! Discrimination is one of the ugliest of human traits, but apparently, and much to my chagrin, it's still illegal to hit them in the head with a brick. It's just not that difficult to be a decent person to others. I know. I manage to do it, and I have tendencies towards bein' a bitch, so if I can do it there's no excuse for others not being able to.

    In other news: Glad to hear you're doing well and enjoying your Ebaying, but I am missin' your blogs. :*(


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