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UPHD cab drivers protest in London over safety after driver murdered and more assaulted

CAB drivers demanded better safety protections at a protest in London today after the murder of one worker and the assault of several more in recent months.

Members of the United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) union targeted the offices of app-based taxi firm Bolt in Chiswick, west London, after the fatal stabbing of Gabriel Bringye by passengers using a fake account in February.

The following month, fellow driver Muhammad Alam was assaulted and had his car stolen at knifepoint by Bolt customers also using fake identities, with many other drivers reporting incidents of abuse and assault recently.

Mr Alam said he has since been scared to return to work, but he had no choice as he needed to support his family. 

He said: “The fact the attackers in both my case and Gabriel’s were able to do book a job without revealing their identity exposed us to danger. I could well have ended up dead like Gabriel.”

The UPHD, a branch of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) which represents mainly low-paid migrant workers, is demanding better protections for drivers, including tougher security checks on passengers and enhanced support systems for workers in distress.

Speaking ahead of the protest, UPHD vice-chairman Nader Awaad said: “After the horrific stabbing of [Mr Bringye], our union called on Bolt’s chief executive Markus Villig to implement safety measures so this would never happen again.

“[His failure to do this] nearly cost Muhammad his life. This is negligence and Bolt must take action now.”

A Bolt spokesperson said that the safety and wellbeing of staff was the company’s priority, saying: “We are constantly in touch with our drivers and we continually try to improve the safety measures we have in place.”

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