The Workers Union is asking the government and other key stakeholders to consider new measures to protect gig-economy drivers.
In a strongly worded statement, chief spokesman Johnathan Morgan said that a programme of training, better data and higher standards of health and safety were required to prevent accidents and driver-burnout.
‘Over the past 10 months our economy has seen many changes. One of the starkest reminders that we live in unprecedented times has come from deserted shopping centres and empty high streets, as consumers head straight for online retail instead. This has driven a rise in box deliveries to residential addresses, increasing the number of delivery drivers on the road.
‘While these hard-working people should be applauded for keeping economic activity moving, more must be done to ensure their safety and the safety of the general public.’
A recently published report by University College London (UCL) reveals that 33 percent of road deaths and 20 percent of accidents involve a working driver or rider. As part of their research, the UCL team also conducted interviews with anonymised road safety stakeholders. Their findings indicate that these participants viewed ‘new models of employment’ (gig-work) as transferring ‘all corporate risks to individuals’ and that ‘there was a general lack of acceptance that there was a growing problem in this area.’
The Workers Union on Gig-Economy Drivers
The Workers Union counts many gig-economy workers amongst our membership. We know the stress that they go through to get their deliveries done in a day. We know that they are often subject to unreasonable pressure from their managers or threatened with reduced – or no – hours if they refuse to comply. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, to learn that so many workers in this situation are involved in road traffic accidents. It’s like making a surgeon work 24 hours a day for two weeks then ordering them to perform a heart transplant. At some point, something gives.
We need to take this issue seriously as a society. Government and company chiefs should grasp this opportunity to revisit road safety and invest in new training initiatives and higher standards of driver welfare.
After all, with such statistics as these, we cannot afford to ignore the problem any longer.
The Workers Union – Protecting the rights of working people