Ramping up their campaign against CitySprint, IWGB Couriers staged a surprise protest inside Google offices to highlight the chain of exploitation that links clients to CitySprint

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Early yesterday morning, couriers who are sick and tired of being exploited by same-day dispatch industry-leader CitySprint, staged a surprise flashmob protest at the flagship offices of one of CitySprint’s highest-profile clients, Google UK. At 8:30am, in time for the morning commute, the sounds of banging drums and screaming vuvuzela horns filled the lofty reception of the search engine giant in their Central St. Giles complex.

The couriers, who are members of the IWGB Union and deliver parcels for Google UK everyday, have taken a stand against working for poverty wages in an unregulated industry with no minimum wage (or minimum rate paid per parcel). The flashmob was the next step in an ongoing campaign to win the London Living Wage (plus reasonable costs), from CitySprint, who haven’t raised couriers’ pay for 15+ years. Waving banners that read “OK GOOGLE: NOW YOU KNOW CITYSPRINT IS EXPLOITATIVE, CAN YOU STILL IGNORE IT?” and “LIVING WAGE EMPLOYERS: PAY FOR LIVING WAGE COURIERS!”, the protesters drove home the fact that customers have a social responsibility to reject exploitative services, even if they offer the cheapest services, as CitySprint does.

The couriers handed out leaflets calling on Google and others to pressure CitySprint to pay their couriers the London Living Wage, plus reasonable expenses. “Proud London Living Wage employers like Google should take a special interest in how much their couriers are paid. If Google wants to avoid being held jointly responsible for poverty pay then it needs to use its considerable influence to pressure City Sprint to pay the London Living Wage”, said Dr. Jason Moyer Lee, IWGB President.

The fact that most couriers are paid far less than a Living Wage
came as a shock to more people than one courier expected. “Raising awareness is more critical than I thought”, they said. “Google staff I talked to, couldn’t believe you could be kept on the books for 15 years and not be given a full-time contract, or even paid more. They cover up the exploitation, because the client would gawk at it”.

Surely enough, two concerned spokespersons from the Google Public Policy team approached the couriers after the protest, having been shocked to learn the reality of the situation. Contact details were exchanged, with an indication that a public letter to CitySprint voicing their demands might soon be the result.

Since this campaign has begun, the IWGB Couriers and Logistics Branch has made clear that the door is open for dialogue and negotiations with City Sprint. All IWGB overtures to CitySprint have been rejected.

Therefore the IWGB will continue to take the London Living Wage campaign to CitySprint and its major clients until the London Living Wage has been won.

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