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Dalston delivery drivers protest Hackney Mayor over lack of safe waiting areas

Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 10:19 AM
  • Dalston couriers supported by Diane Abbott to protest at 4pm on Thursday outside Hackney Council after being denied a safe and suitable area to wait for orders whilst they work.
  • App couriers who are often victims of street harassment, are forced to wait outside with no toilets or facilities in all weather and face unfair fines whilst picking up orders from the Kingsland High Street McDonald’s.
  • Local residents have sent more than 350 letters supporting couriers’ demands for a safe work space.

Wednesday 19 January: Dalston couriers working for app-based firms Deliveroo, UberEats, and JustEat are protesting tomorrow 20 January from 4.15pm outside Hackney Town Hall after being forced to wait for orders in all weather at Bentley Road car park, a current COVID testing centre with no shelter or toilets. Riders will assemble on Ashwin Street at 4pm and then ride to Hackney Town Hall for the rally.

Couriers waiting outside McDonald’s to pick up orders face increased harassment from police and civil enforcement officers and have received punitive £65 parking fines while working even though they have not been provided with anywhere suitable to go. Off-site parking presents health and safety concerns, with gig economy couriers being prime targets for moped theft and the lack of toilets raising health and safety concerns for food delivery couriers. Parking fees have been waived until March 2022, but after this, couriers will be forced to pay to wait for orders out of their own wages.

Alongside vocal support from Diane Abbott MP, nearly 350 emails have been sent to the Mayor of Hackney and Capital Arches Group from concerned local residents backing the couriers fight for a safe space to work. Tomorrow’s protest follows a recent correspondence from the Hackney Mayor reaffirming that couriers should move to Bentley Rd despite concerns around safety and parking fees not having been resolved.

Organised by the IWGB, tomorrow’s demonstration follows two protests and boycotts on 17 September and 9 November 2021. On 16 December 2021, Hackney Council met with Capital Arches Group though couriers were excluded from the meeting and no solution was reached. Couriers are now calling on Hackney Council, Capital Arches Group and the food delivery apps to install the necessary infrastructure in Bentley Road car park to make it a usable space to work including a shelter and toilet access.

Attempts to move couriers off Ashwin Street where they previously waited follow plans for the regeneration of nearby Ridley Road. The plans have been condemned as “gentrification in action” pushing out local residents, retailers, and workers.

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington says: "I applaud the actions of delivery riders and drivers to secure better conditions. Delivery workers have become an essential part of life for many people, especially in London. Typically, customers are young, but you drivers here today often provide a great service for the elderly or housebound. This is really important during the pandemic. The pay and working conditions of delivery drivers like you are important to us all. Only unscrupulous employers benefit from a race to the bottom, but all workers are damaged by it. [They] are all valuable members of our community, our economy and society. [They] deserve to be treated that way."

Alex Marshall, President (IWGB), says: “Couriers were applauded during the national lockdowns for delivering vital food packages for isolating families. Now they are pushed out of sight to work in the shadows without access to even a toilet. Couriers need a safe sheltered space so that they can do their jobs safely without the threat of harassment or extortionate parking fines.”

Wagner Flores Xavier, courier says: “All we want is somewhere safe, dry and accessible to wait for orders so we can do our jobs without fear. Making us wait all day in a Covid testing centre is not safe. Ignoring the theft, assault and harassment we face every day is not safe. Instead of helping us, the police just move us on and make us feel like criminals. We are protesting because the council has ignored our concerns and instead tries to kick us to the curb, moving us from place to place like bags of rubbish. But we are human beings and essential workers and we demand dignity.”

For further information, contact:
Marienna Pope-Weidemann, Head of Communications
+44 7380 194788 / press@iwgb.co.uk

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