Private hire workers strike for safety

Submitted by martin on 16 March, 2021 - 4:31 Author: Darren Bedford
UPHD

Private hire drivers working for multiple apps, including Bolt and Uber, struck on 3 March to demand improved safety provision, after Bolt driver Gabriel Bringye was stabbed to death while working on 17 February.

Nader Awaad, chair of the Independent Workers' union of Great Britain (IWGB)'s United Private Hire Drivers branch, which supported the strike, said “Most of my colleagues have been assaulted at work so Gabriel’s death is not only tragic but alarming. That’s why we’re calling not only for practical health and safety measures but also culture change.

“Passengers don’t expect to be held accountable for abusive behaviour because the model companies like Bolt and Uber promote is one where drivers have no power, no voice. As long as these operators treat us like second class citizens, denied the most basic rights, operators set a dangerous precedent: that our lives don’t matter.”

United Voices of the World (UVW) members at La Retraite Catholic girls' school in south west London are preparing for a 40-day strike, due to begin on 16 March, part of a battle against wage theft and cuts to hours, and for full sick pay.

La Retraite cleaner Roberto said: “When we get ill – either with Covid-19 or something else – we simply can’t afford to take sick leave. If we do, we’ll lose our wages, and as we already live on the breadline every penny we lose risks leaving us unable to buy food or pay for rent. And what’s worse is that the La Retraite knows this. Which is why teachers get full pay sick pay. If teachers get it then why can’t cleaners?”

Their union is fundraising for a strike fund to support the action: crowdfunder.co.uk/help-la-retraite-school-cleaners-strike-for-sick-pay

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