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Statement following the verdict on murder of Bolt driver Gabriel Bringye

Tue, Mar 15, 2022, 4:05 PM

Today, over a year since Gabriel Bringye was tragically killed, his assailants have been found guilty of manslaughter. This has been a very difficult time for Gabriel’s family, his fiancé, and for the whole community who will continue to feel his loss every day.

Although the trial has now come to a conclusion, Gabriel’s family have always said there can be no real justice for Gabriel without wider change in the gig economy. Beginning with Bolt, they are calling on all app-based platforms to start taking driver safety seriously.

With our support, they are leading Gabriel’s Campaign for Driver Safety because drivers continue to face the threat of violence, racism, and harassment everyday at work. 7 in 10 drivers have been assaulted on the job and 8 in 10 have experienced verbal abuse. Yet, Bolt lacks common-sense safety measures like a functioning complaint system, sick pay, or financial support for drivers if they are injured at work. Drivers are disbelieved by app operators and many find their accounts deactivated following traumatic incidents at work.

The solution is simple. Bolt must meet with the IWGB and Gabriel’s family to put in place practical solutions to help protect drivers and customers alike. Our demands are as follows.

  1. Apps must provide sick pay equivalent to average income for drivers who have been injured at work while they recover.
  2. Apps must implement the worker status that is being unlawfully denied to drivers. This would provide a vital safety net by providing paid holidays and ending poverty pay.
  3. Apps must verify customer ID with password protection on the app so that stolen phones cannot be used to order ‘trap jobs’.
  4. Partitions and CCTV should be made available to drivers on all apps at a rate subsidised by licensing authorities and operator apps.
  5. Apps must introduce and properly staff a functioning complaints system to provide appropriate support for drivers on the job.
  6. Apps must recognise the IWGB and agree to meet regularly with union representatives to monitor ongoing support and safety improvements.

We will continue to fight to get justice for Gabriel and safety for all drivers.

Henry Chango-Lopez, General Secretary (IWGB) says: “Every member of our union stands in solidarity today with Gabriel’s family who are campaigning courageously for positive change in his name. Gabriel’s death affected drivers deeply because of this sense that ‘it could have been anyone of us.’ Two thirds of IWGB drivers and couriers working in the gig economy have been physically attacked simply doing their jobs and these are the workers hailed as heroes for getting Britain through the pandemic. We must all speak up against this gig economy model of all profit and no accountability before one more life is lost. As a first step we call on Bolt to sit down at the table with us to hear the family's concerns.”

Gabriel’s Family says “The criminal trial has been a traumatic ordeal and we are glad it is finally over but there is no justice for Gabriel without wider change in the gig economy.

Gabriel was a loving partner, loyal brother, devoted uncle and dear friend to many. What has been taken from us can never be returned, never be made right. But what we can and must do is make sure everything that can be done, will be done to save lives like Gabriel's in future.

Corporations like Bolt who make billions on the backs of precarious workers, need to show some humanity, respect their basic rights and take more responsibility for the safety of customers and drivers alike. That’s what Gabriel’s Campaign for Driver Safety is all about.”

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© Independent Workers Union of Great Britain 2022

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