The SPHA held it's inaugural AGM on the 28th of February at a well attended event at The Village Hotel in Glasgow.
The meeting opened with the release of details of the initial members benefit package, which includes offerings from Patons, The Village Hotel and other local businesses including cafes and garages. The interim executive committee then spoke on how they planned to continue adding to their member benefits package over time and across the country. Discussions then followed regarding the SPHA's campaign plans for the future including speaking about lobbying Glasgow City Council to increase their 7 year age limit on private hire cars, fighting for bus lane access for Edinburgh drivers, and campaigning for safety screens to become permanent, post-Covid, for driver safety. Discussions then went on to talk about the SPHA's recent involvement with the Scottish Government as industry stakeholders.
Representatives from the Edinburgh Private Hire Drivers Association (EPHD) were also in attendance and spoke at the meeting. They informed everyone that a number of their members will be joining with the SPHA and will be helping to shape the SPHA's East of Scotland branches. An EPHD spokesperson said, "Everybody here is very passionate, committed and focused on building on their early, major successes, and keeping the momentum going well into the future. This is the first time the Scottish private hire trade has ever had a national association. It’s very encouraging to see the private hire trade come together to ensure we have a strong collective voice for our trade. I’ve every confidence in our newly elected representatives and I encourage all EPHD members to join".
The meeting attendees then went on to formally adopt the association's constitution, which is prefaced with a preamble stating "We are licensed private hire drivers, operating in Scotland, and are convening in a voluntary association to act as representatives of our trade, to serve as stakeholders of our trade, and to campaign for and to work for improvements to our trade. We affirm that we are self employed sole traders and that we are assembling together in solidarity with one another; convinced that such association assures a strong collective voice to represent our individual and shared interests as licensed private hire drivers". Following the constitution's ratification, announcement of election and nomination results took place. Eddie Grice was elected to serve as the SPHA General Secretary, while John Paul Duffy was elected to serve as the Deputy General Secretary. Paul Nelson was elected as Treasurer. James Armstrong was then elected to serve as the Chair for the Glasgow Branch, while Hardeep Singh was elected as Vice Chair. A number of names were then nominated and accepted to serve as committee members for the Glasgow branch. Eddie Grice, the SPHA's newly elected General Secretary, closed the meeting by addressing the membership by saying, "A lot has been mentioned tonight about the measurable successes that the people on this committee have achieved. I just want to say that these are not our successes. They are your successes. Every single time we asked you to contact a councillor and you did it, every single time we asked you to write a letter or email to an MSP and you did it, every time you show up to meetings like this, every single protest you attend, every convoy you took part in. You did it. Not us, you. Any and all successes are your very own."