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NINE out of 10 workers in the so-called gig economy have suffered abuse and violence at work, a new survey has revealed.
Two-thirds have been physically assaulted, and the worst-affected victims are black and minority ethnic (BAME) workers, of whom 60 per cent say incidents of verbal abuse and violence take place as often as once a month.
The survey was carried out by the Independent Workers of Great Britain union (IWGB), which accuses employers such as Deliveroo of failing to protect its workers.
Jordan Harrison, a food courier based in Manchester whose name has been changed to preserve his anonymity, said: “I’ve been punched in the face while working; I get harassed in the street every week.
“Sometimes it’s transphobic abuse, sometimes because I’m autistic, sometimes it feels completely random.
“Gig economy corporations treat us like we’re disposable, so other people follow suit.
“It just feels like part of the job at this point. I don’t bother telling the company I work for because I know they won’t do anything.
“We’re not employees, so as far as they are concerned, they don’t have any responsibility for us. You can’t even get a human being to talk to on the phone.”
IWGB said that a Deliveroo “neighbourhood watch” partnership set up by the firm “shifts responsibility onto targeted workers themselves and shifts focus away from Deliveroo’s failure to support them.”
The union is calling on all gig economy corporations to take responsibility for workers’ safety.
A survey of private hire drivers by IWGB, following the murder of union member Gabriel Bringye while on a job for operator Bolt in February, found that seven in 10 drivers have been physically assaulted while working.
IWGB president Alex Marshall said: “Harassment is endemic in the gig economy because corporations treat it as a Wild West where they have no responsibilities and their workers have no rights.
“By refusing even to respect the minimum wage or provide human support after someone is attacked on the job, companies like Deliveroo set a toxic precedent that key workers are disposable. We demand action to protect them and hold perpetrators accountable.”
Deliveroo was invited to comment.
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