Demand Protective Equipment & Sick Pay for COVID19 Medical Couriers

by Independent Workers' union of Great Britain (IWGB)

Demand Protective Equipment & Sick Pay for COVID19 Medical Couriers

by Independent Workers' union of Great Britain (IWGB)
Independent Workers' union of Great Britain (IWGB)
Case Owner
The IWGB is the leading union for precarious and "gig economy" workers. Since 2012 we have taken on many big names, including the University of London, Uber and Deliveroo and the Government.
23
days to go
£1,884
pledged of £4,000 target from 86 pledges
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Independent Workers' union of Great Britain (IWGB)
Case Owner
The IWGB is the leading union for precarious and "gig economy" workers. Since 2012 we have taken on many big names, including the University of London, Uber and Deliveroo and the Government.
Pledge now

Your card will only be charged if the case meets its target of £4,000 by Apr. 25, 2020, noon

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is taking legal action against The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) over its failure to provide adequate protective equipment and sick pay to medical couriers transporting vital COVID-19 samples, as well as demanding regular testing and samples to be properly packaged. We are represented by barristers, Chris Milsom and Laurene Veale from Cloisters Chambers, and solicitor Elizabeth McGlone from Bindmans LLP.

Millions of people across the country are making the effort to self-isolate, often at great personal and financial cost. This national effort puts to shame corporations like TDL, whose standard pattern of exploiting workers for every penny has now developed deadly consequences, not just for their workers but for all our families and communities. Who knows how many have already been infected as a result. They must be held to account and we are taking action now, to save lives.

 

Alex Marshall, a TDL pushbike courier and Chair of the IWGB Couriers and Logistics Branch said:

"Medical couriers at The Doctors Laboratory are on the front lines of the response to the Covid-19 crisis. We are going into buildings in the epicentre of the pandemic, like UCLH and Guy's and St. Thomas hospitals, collecting samples, and then later in the day going to other parts of the country with fewer cases or into places with vulnerable people like cancer wards and fertility clinics.  And our employer still won't provide us with sufficient protective equipment, regular testing or enough sick pay to self-isolate. Their complete disregard for our health and safety is directly endangering the lives of NHS staff, vulnerable patients, and other parts of the country with fewer cases than London. It seems they are more interested in profits than protecting not only their workforce, but the general public too."

Alex Marshall protesting against TDL’s unfair practices in May 2019


Call to action - TDL couriers should be treated as heroes for their part in combating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead they are being denied protective equipment, proper sick pay and testing for the virus. Samples are not even being packaged accordinging to minimal safety guidelines to avoid transmission, endangering their lives and those of NHS staff. Your donation will enable us to hold TDL to account for their reckless disregard for the health and safety of their workers. 

 

What are we trying to achieve?  

The couriers at The Doctors Laboratory are demanding:

 

1. full sick pay for self-isolation

2. protective gear such as masks, gloves, hand sanitiser

3. regular COVID-19 testing for couriers

4. proper packaging of COVID-19 samples, according to Public Health England guidelines

 

Duncan Parker, a TDL motorbike courier said:

"I've looked at the Public Health England guidelines on how to package Covid-19 samples and the samples I'm collecting aren't packaged that way. I'm extremely worried about this. I'm proud to be doing such an important job right now but don't think my health should be unnecessarily put at risk. I discussed this with my manager, who said sarcastically to me 'well then the rest of the world is wrong and you're right!'. On top of this I can't get tested to see if I've gotten the virus, and even if I had symptoms, at only £94.25 per week sick pay, I would struggle financially to stay home for two weeks."

Duncan Parker, a TDL motorbike courier 


What is the next step in the case? - With your help, we are going to the High Court to get an injunction and declaration against TDL to force them to stop these harmful practices immediately.

How much we are raising and why? - We are trying to raise an initial amount of £4,000 - with a stretch target of £10,000. We are applying for costs protection but need to raise as much money as we can so that we have the ability to fight this case even if the Doctors Laboratory pursues us for their own legal costs. Your contribution will enable us to go ahead with this case and secure the protections TDL couriers urgently need. 

The IWGB has been scrambling with urgency to defend its low paid members and take legal action where necessary, including by commencing legal action against the government earlier this week. We are low resource in the best of times and now need solidarity to protect our members. 

Thank you! 

Any leftover funds will go to the IWGB Legal Department to support legal cases on behalf of low-paid workers.



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