IWGB launches campaign for driver safety on anniversary of Gabriel Bringye’s murder

Thu, Feb 17, 2022, 10:52 AM
  • IWGB launches driver safety campaign on the anniversary of the death of Gabriel Bringye, a private hire driver who was murdered while working for Bolt.
  • The anniversary will be marked today with a vigil and rally at 6pm on Jarrow Road, Tottenham.
  • Workplace assaults and abuse are commonplace, but private hire drivers working for Bolt lack full sick pay and basic safety protections.

Thursday 17 February: Today the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) launches ‘Gabriel’s Campaign for Driver Safety’ named after Gabriel Bringye, a private hire driver who was murdered while working for Bolt. The anniversary of Gabriel’s death will also be marked by a vigil and rally taking place today at 6pm on Jarrow Road, organised by Gabriel’s family and the IWGB union.

Gabriel Bringye was murdered while working for the Bolt app which recorded his vehicle as stationary and his job ongoing for 344 minutes as and after he passed away in his car, with no alert mechanism being triggered. Following public pressure since Gabriel’s death, Bolt has introduced an automated welfare check but drivers say there is still a long way still to go until they feel safe and properly protected.

Gabriel’s campaign calls on Bolt to introduce full sick pay for drivers injured at work; subsidised security equipment such as partitions and CCTV; basic customer ID with password protection; and a properly functioning complaints and support system for drivers. In addition, Bolt must recognise the IWGB and commit to ongoing consultation on issues of safety. Bolt was recently valued at £6bn and is rapidly expanding.

Workplace violence and abuse are commonplace for private hire drivers. Our research suggests that for this majority-BAME workforce, 7 in 10 have been assaulted on the job and 8 in 10 have been victims of verbal abuse. The petition calling on Bolt CEO Markus Villig to improve safety protections in Gabriel’s name has already gathered hundreds of signatures.

Mariana Fazecas, Gabriel's partner, says: "When Gabriel was killed I lost my partner, my heart and my future. I miss him every minute. A year after his death we should not still have to worry that other drivers' lives are at risk because these common sense health and safety measures still are not in place. But Gabriel was always ready to stand up for others, so Gabriel's Campaign for Driver Safety seems like the perfect way to honour him."

Renata Bringye, Gabriel's sister who is also a private hire driver and member of the IWGB, says: "A year after my brother was killed I am still working behind the wheel and still waiting for Bolt to sit down with us and our union, the IWGB, to discuss what needs to change to make drivers like us feel safe. Drivers must come together to challenge this culture that says we are disposable, that we don't matter. That will only change if we stand up together. That's what Gabriel's Campaign is all about."

Nader Awaad, Chair of the United Private Hire Drivers (IWGB), says: “Every driver deserves to feel safe in their place of work but a year since Gabriel’s tragic murder the threat of abuse, harassment and violence is still a daily part of the job and multi-billion pound corporations like Bolt still neglect even the most rudimentary safety measures such as proper sick pay, customer ID checks and a functioning support line for drivers. We are launching our safety campaign in Gabriel’s name so that the apps may never forget the cost of their apathy and inaction.”

Interviews with drivers are available on request.

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