Just weeks after the 2nd anniversary of Gabriel Bringye’s tragic death, another serious incident has highlighted the welfare crisis facing gig workers throughout the UK. At around 22:30 on 23 February, Deliveroo driver Mohammed collapsed outside the exclusive Meranti House on Alie Street where he was attempting to make a delivery. He was denied access to the concierge-controlled lobby of the building, instead being left outside in the cold where he had to wait over an hour for an ambulance.
Whilst collapsed awaiting medical help, the Deliveroo app kept alerting Mohammed to complete the delivery – but despite these repeated alerts suggesting there was a problem no-one from Deliveroo contacted Mohammed to check on his welfare. In the meantime, Deliveroo’s customers came out of the building to retrieve their food from the unconscious driver, stepped over him and then went back into the building. Eventually Mohammed was taken to hospital where he remains seriously ill.
This case illustrates once again how inadequately supported gig workers are, their vulnerability to welfare issues, and the total lack of concern shown by the platforms that engage them.
On Friday 3rd March 2023, the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU) held a public rally in support of Mohammed and all gig workers. Speakers included:
- Apsana Begum MP
- Jeremy Corbyn MP
- Maium Talukdar, Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets
- James Farrar, ADCU
- Ellen Grogan, Royal College of Nursing
- Onay Kasab, Unite the Union
- Shabbir Lakha, People’s Assembly
- Unjum Mirza, ASLEF
James Farrar ADCU General Secretary said:
The story of Deliveroo’s disastrous handling of the collapse of one of their workers illustrates the tragic consequences of a morally bankrupt gig economy business model and a negligent government. Companies like Deliveroo hide behind a veneer of technology to avoid their statutory and moral duty to their workforce and the communities they live in. The alienating effect of technology blinds customers to the true cost of a service made possible by tax evasion, low pay, insecure work and racial discrimination. Today we are fighting back to demand accountability from the government and from gig economy platforms who extract massive profits from the local community but seek to put nothing back.