Thursday 16 February: Tomorrow marks two years since Bolt driver and member of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), Gabriel Bringye, was killed whilst working for the platform app Bolt. Family, colleagues and union members will gather from 18.00 at the site of his murder on Jarrow Road in Tottenham to remember him and demand justice and proper safety measures for private hire drivers.
The day Gabriel Bringye was stabbed to death, the Bolt app recorded him as stationary and his job ongoing for almost six hours without raising any automated welfare check. Following Gabriel’s Campaign for Drivers’ Safety, led by the bereaved family and the IWGB, Bolt has introduced new safety measures, including a Formal Care Team, but drivers and Gabriel’s family say that due to Bolt’s failure to hear drivers’ concerns, the service is inadequate and ineffective.
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 checks; 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. Senior management are still refusing to meet with Gabriel’s family alongside their trade union representatives, despite repeated requests. .
Workplace violence and abuse are commonplace for private hire drivers. IWGB 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.
Mariana Fazecas, Gabriel's partner, says: "Corporations, like Bolt, made rich by the hard work of those like Gabriel have nothing in place to protect or support them in times of injury, illness or unspeakable grief. And that is why, for we who loved him, there is no justice for Gabriel without change.”
Renata Bringye, Gabriel's sister who is also a private hire driver and member of the IWGB, says: "Many drivers, like myself, working for the likes of Bolt and Uber do so in fear. Most of us have been hurt or harassed on the job. This is why myself, Gabriel’s partner and my union, the IWGB, launched Gabriel’s Campaign for Driver Safety. The support we have received from the union and from our local Romanian community has been amazing and I am so grateful that we do not have to walk this road alone. I miss my brother every day. I just don’t want anyone else to have to go through this.”
Nader Awaad, Chair of the United Private Hire Drivers (IWGB), says: “As app drivers we have to put up with a lot - poverty pay, being fired for things that aren’t your fault, a lack of basic rights in the workplace - but it is beyond unacceptable that our employers will not even take these simple steps to keep us safe. No human being, self employed or otherwise, should be subjected to the apathy and neglect companies like Bolt have for their own workforce.”
Interviews with drivers and victims of abuse are available on request.
For more information please contact:
Jake Thomas / Press and Communications Officer (IWGB)