Just Eat picket line Just Eat picket line

Drivers’ employers are flouting the law and attempting to intimidate workers into compliance, but the ADCU campaign goes on, reports Ellen Grogan

So gig-economy bosses continue to exploit workers with flagrant disregard for their rights. The latest victims in London are between twenty and thirty Just Eat couriers who were abruptly terminated without any warning, leaving them penniless and facing homelessness.

One of their number, whom I’ll refer to as X due to his fear of identification, told me that he was now being continuously harassed by his landlord, which he says, will likely result in the eviction of him, his wife and their six-year-old daughter. Close to tears, he told me, ‘All our family are in depression with this fear.’ He stated that he had complied with all of Just Eat’s policies, but he was still being accused of making duplicate accounts and using a third-party app to gain an advantage over colleagues.

Lucy MacEwan of the Worker Information Exchange, which is attempting to represent the workers’ case, say that companies in the gig economy seem to act with impunity in their brutal treatment of workers. This stands in flagrant disregard of court victories in cases brought by the App Drivers and Couriers Union. General Secretary, James Farr, says that the companies are emboldened by the current government’s policies to erode workers’ rights at every turn. He said, ‘they know about the rulings, but just carry on regardless because they know the government will do nothing.’ On a hopeful note, Labour has pledged to ban zero-hours contracts, but James Farr remains sceptical. He implies this may turn out to be a case of ‘He who pays the piper …’

Lucy MacEwan hopes that Worker Information Exchange may be able to prepare an adequate case to mount a legal challenge on behalf of the workers, but she is concerned that the less than transparent operations of the company may make this difficult. Meanwhile comrades can help support the sacked workers by donating here: https://www.adcu.org.uk/. It’s important to point out that the sacked workers, as well as others, were too fearful to attend the protest in their support. They feel their employment opportunities are severely limited already, so they remain dependant for survival on gig work and cannot afford to be identified.

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