Lawyer backs Gabriel’s Campaign for Driver Safety for Bolt cab drivers
A leading occupational health and safety lawyer has added his support to a campaign for greater driver safety for cab drivers, launched following the death of Gabriel Bringye.
Posted on 21 April 2022
Gabriel, 37, worked as a self-employed private hire driver for Bolt. He was found stabbed to death in his cab in Jarrow Road, Tottenham in February, 2021. His vehicle was recorded by the Bolt app as stationary but also showed Gabriel’s last job as ongoing for 344 minutes. Two teenagers were found guilty of manslaughter at the Old Bailey on 15 March 2022.
Gabriel’s fiancée, Mariana Fazecas, says she does not want his death to be in vain and has helped the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) to launch a campaign for improved safety for self-employed cab drivers working in the gig economy, for companies like Bolt and Uber.
Gabriel’s Campaign for Driver Safety was launched on the first anniversary of Gabriel’s death. Now Ross Whalley, a partner at Leigh Day has added his backing and is calling for others to support the campaign by signing the petition. Ross is representing Mariana in a claim for compensation via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
The campaign is calling for a number of safety measures including a panic button for drivers in distress, subsidised security equipment such as partitions and CCTV and a properly functioning complaints and support system for drivers. The campaign is also calling for appropriate recognition of gig economy cab drivers as workers, and associated employment rights as well as sick pay and financial support for drivers recovering from incidents at work.
Following public pressure since Gabriel’s death, Bolt has introduced an automated welfare check, but drivers say there is still a long way still to go until they feel safe and properly protected.
Mariana Fazecas said:
"When Gabriel was killed I lost my partner, my heart and my future. I miss him every minute. A year after his death we should not still have to worry that other drivers' lives are at risk because these common sense health and safety measures still are not in place. But Gabriel was always ready to stand up for others, so Gabriel's Campaign for Driver Safety seems like the perfect way to honour him."
Leigh Day partner, Ross Whalley said:
“Gabriel was a self-employed gig worker but the day-to-day responsibility for drivers’ health and safety during work assignments rests with Bolt. They are in the best position consider the risks to their workers and put in place measures to reduce those. The law has struggled to keep pace with new working arrangements but it remains clear that all gig-economy companies must ensure the safety of their workers so far as is reasonably practicable.
“Lone working, unsociable hours and exposure to unknown passengers carries an obvious risk. Recognised safety mechanisms to mitigate that risk would include training drivers in how to deal with violence, reporting systems, systems for tracking drivers and regularly checking in with drivers. Tragically, we will never now know whether Gabriel would still be alive today had Bolt implemented basic safety measures prior to his untimely death. One thing that is for sure is that every worker, whether they be employee, gig economy, agency or temporary, deserves basic safety protections in the workplace and to return home safely at the end of their day’s work.”
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