• About time this happend


    Open letter to Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London, Will Norman, Cycling
    and Walking Commissioner and all stakeholders.

    Dear Stakeholder,

    Re. Formation of Cycle Instructors Branch of IWGB trade union –
    sustainable cycle training for a sustainable city

    I am writing to you regarding cycle training provision in London in my
    capacity as chair of the trade IWGB Cycle Instructors Branch and
    because of your roles in the provision and funding of cycle training
    in London.

    Due to long term pressures resulting in an untenable situation, the
    cycling instructor workforce has now unionised. The issues we face
    are summarised as follows:

    Wages have not risen in ten years, representing a very significant
    loss of earnings

    Duties and responsibilities have increased without any additional paid
    time granted

    Work allocation has become increasingly disjointed and unpredictable
    and cancellation policies can mean whole weeks of work cancelled at 48
    hours notice

    The required training, insurance and documentation has become more

    Safety is compromised as instructor-client ratios are stretched and,
    increasingly, provisionally qualified instructors are asked to carry
    out tasks for which they are not qualified, including the risk
    assessment and risk management of children in on-road training drills

    The recent review of the Bikeability Scheme has meant the
    qualification instructors have studied for and paid is suddenly no
    longer valid, requiring yet more financial outlay and time

    The growth of cycling is vital to the future of London and to the
    success of you, the Mayor, in meeting your own targets and
    responsibilities, as well as for those responsibilities of local

    Cycling instructors are a vital part of the following:

    Vision Zero, the mission to reduce road deaths and serious injuries to
    zero by raising awareness of bus and HGV drivers to vulnerable road
    users (currently over 100 per year)

    FORS accreditation for HGV and fleet operators

    Tackling rising obesity amongst the young

    Tackling street-level pollution, in particular school-run related

    Tackling chronic traffic congestion

    Tackling climate change

    In addition to these, cycle instructors should also be playing a role
    in supporting public health initiatives for long term health
    conditions and mental health support but there is currently a lack of
    joined-up funding and policy making.

    As a union of workers in the so-called “gig-economy”, we recognise
    that many of the companies operating in the sector are small-scale.
    Often, they are charitable or social enterprises operating in a
    quasi-corporate setting. Furthermore, we recognise that throughout the
    industry - from the policy units, the department of transport, local
    government, the bikeability trust and the larger provider companies –
    almost everyone involved is well intentioned and motivated by a love
    of cycling and a knowledge of its power.

    Cycling instructors are very motivated; we love our job and we
    understand its value.

    However, no longer can the largesse of the instructor workforce be
    taken for granted. . We will not tolerate providers winning contracts
    by cutting instructor rates. We will not subsidise the provider
    companies by picking up the bill for mandatory training. We will not
    allow safety and standards to fall because of cost-cutting. As a
    union, we stand ready to be productive partners working together with
    all parts of the industry and government to make the service fit for
    the challenges we face.

    Every day, parents and learners from all communities in this city are
    entrusting cycling instructors with the safety of their children and
    of themselves in some of the most challenging road-scenarios in
    Europe. We are determined that those cycling instructors should be
    properly paid, properly skilled and given the time and resources to do
    their job.

    The IWGB Cycle Instructors Branch is demanding:

    Instructor pay rates are protected from the contract tendering process

    Mandatory training and the time spent on training be paid for by the

    The cost of re-certification required because of the review of
    Bikeability Scheme be paid for by TfL, The Bikeability Trust and The
    Department of Transport or the provider companies

    Recognition of worker status and the accompanying benefits including
    accrued holiday pay, pension and other rights

    Paid time for all tasks essential to the role, including admin and
    risk assessments

    Improved pay and conditions recognising 10 years of declining pay

    A renewed commitment to safety and the removal of instructor ratios as
    a factor in the contract tendering process

    A commitment to develop the role of cycle instructors to include
    provision in health and social care sector and a road-map to a funding

    Representation on the board of The Bikeability Trust and other
    relevant settings

    A stakeholder voice in the development and review of transport
    developments across London

    The IWGB Cycle Instructors Branch is hereby announcing our intention
    to be a productive and positive partner and we extend an invitation to
    you, Sadiq Khan, as the Mayor of London, and Will Norman as Cycling
    and Walking Commissioner, to meet with us to discuss the challenges
    the sector faces and potential solutions. Also, we extend an
    invitation to all parties to engage directly with the union, so that
    we can make both London, and cycle training, more sustainable.

    On behalf of our members, I look forward to working with you.

    Yours sincerely,

    Michael McSherry

    Chair, IWGB Cycle Instructors Branch

  • I'm told the cakes at the meetings are great.

  • Big organisations prefer to buy from big organisations Somewhere up the procurement chain will be someone covering his/her arse with piles (no pun intended) of beuraucratic waste paper that as time goes on, only larger companies are able to vomit up on demand. Bikeability now favours this environment and I predict that what we will see is a relentless progression to near monopolies. The signs are already there as mentioned above.

    Noticably the recent update to Bikeability went nowhere near pay and conditions which to me is as much a part of quality standards as everything else. Companies are of course independent but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be set decent standards for "their" instructors.

    There are still a few small companies who put their instructors front and centre of their business. They care about them. There are other companies who rely on an easy supply of instructors eager to pay for their own training, some of whom don't care about the money or don't even need it. One or two big companies will swallow up the little guys or simply syphon off their clients until they fold. What they've already done to Bikeability they are now doing to the Safe Urban Driving. Such a shame as it's the kids and customers who lose in the end.

    I am saddened by it all.


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