Uber Drivers and Other Precarious Workers March on October 30th
Uber drivers will be joined by hundreds of precarious workers as they march through London on 30 October, the day the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) faces Uber at the Court of Appeal. This is expected to be the biggest precarious workers’ march ever in the UK.
Couriers, Deliveroo riders, outsourced cleaners, restaurant workers and others will be marching as they demand an end to precarious work. There will be a parallel rally to be held in Glasgow.
The protesters will assemble at Transport for London (TfL) at 8am and march to the Royal Courts of Justice, where IWGB members and co-claimants in the Uber employment rights case James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam will be attending the proceedings at the Court of Appeal.
The protest will then go to the University of London, where outsourced workers, including cleaners, receptionists and security officers, will be on strike to end outsourcing and to be made direct employees of the university. Finally the protest will pass by NHS contractor The Doctors Laboratory, where medical couriers are demanding a fair pay deal after two rounds of pay cuts.
Representatives from other IWGB branches will also be present at the march, including the foster care workers branch, the electrical workers branch, the cleaners and facilites branch and the security officers and receptionists branch.
The march has gathered wide-ranging support and is being backed by Momentum, CWU union, United Voices of the World trade union, Unite Hotel Workers branch, Hackney Picturehouse Living Wage Campaign, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants and others.
Uber case co-claimant and IWGB United Private Hire Drivers branch chair James Farrar said: “At a time when Uber is looking to spread its exploitative model throughout the economy with its staffing business UberWorks, it has never been more important for us to defeat them in court. What is clear from the different kinds of workers that are supporting us in this demonstration is that unity among precarious workers has never been stronger and together we will defeat the dishonest bosses that are trying to do away with our most basic employment rights.”
The IWGB will once again be facing Uber, after it defeated the company at the Employment Appeal Tribunal last year. Uber is appealing the ruling which stated that former Uber drivers Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar were workers and consequently entitled to employment rights such as a guaranteed minimum wage and holiday pay.
Last month, the IWGB organised the first ever UK nation-wide Uber strike, with drivers in 3 cities logging off their apps and holding protests.
University of London dispute
Outsourced workers, including cleaners, security officers and receptionists, have been campaigning to end outsourcing at the University of London and to be made direct employees since September 2017. On 30 October they will not only be marching alongside Uber drivers, but will be on strike as part of their campaign.
In April 2018 they held the biggest outsourced workers strike in UK higher education history, when over 100 workers took industrial action.
The Doctors Laboratory dispute
Couriers at NHS contractor The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) are demanding a pay rise and a reversal of two rounds of pay cuts. TDL admitted last year it had been misclassifying its couriers as independent contractors, rather than workers, following legal action by the IWGB. The Central Arbitration Committee then ruled that TDL had to recognise the IWGB, making it the first ever union to be recognised by a gig-economy employer for the purposes of collective bargaining.
Schedule for the day (London):
8:00am: Assemble at TfL, 197 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8JZ
9:00am-9:30am: Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, WC2A 2LL. Speeches by co-claimants James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam
10:30am-11:30am: University of London Senate House, WC1E 7HU. Speeches by outsourced workers
12:30pm-13:00pm: Protest outside TDL offices, 1 Mabledon Place, WC1H 9AX.
13:30pm: March returns to University of London Senate House for closing
Speakers for the day:
Owen Jones, Guardian Columnist
Dave Ward, Communication Workers Union General Secretary
Jonathan Bartley, co-leader Green Party
Susana Benavides, United Voices of the World trade union
James Farrar, IWGB member and co-claimant in the Uber case
Yaseen Aslam, IWGB member and co-claimant in the Uber case
Report from the IWGB: https://iwgb.org.uk/