Union unhappy over ‘unnecessary’ language test

Thursday 17th November 2016 | 0 Comments


The GMB trade union is up in arms over what it calls a ‘ridiculous’ language test which forces London private hire drivers to fork out at least £180 to prove they speak English. GMB says introducing the tests could see a private education firm pocket £20 million.

The new rule has caused outrage among workers – particularly those who were born and raised in the UK and are being asked to shell out to show they can speak their own mother tongue.

Unless they can prove they have an English GCSE, Transport for London (TfL) says they must undergo a day-long language test under belittling classroom conditions from their recommended provider – Trinity College London.

With an estimated 110,000 Private Hire Drivers in London, and with each test costing at least £180, this could see the company trouser a whopping £19.8 million. Trinity College’s turnover last year was £32 million.

Steve Garelick, GMB’s professional drivers’ secretary, said: “Not only are these tests unnecessary and demeaning, they will shovel huge sums of money into a private college’s coffers, thanks to a virtual monopoly.

“Our members work hard for their cash – why should they have to stump up £180 to prove they can speak what, in many cases, is the language they’ve spoken all their lives?

“We completely accept drivers need good verbal communication skills – but do they really need an expensive written exam to boot?

“TfL really needs to rethink this ridiculous requirement before it’s too late.”

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Category: UK News