A test case for the rights of key workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

by David O'Sullivan

A test case for the rights of key workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

by David O'Sullivan
David O'Sullivan
Case Owner
My name is David O'Sullivan. I'm a London bus driver who was sacked for standing up for my colleagues' health and safety rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. I need your support.
18
days to go
£11,687
pledged of £20,000 stretch target from 185 pledges
Pledge now
David O'Sullivan
Case Owner
My name is David O'Sullivan. I'm a London bus driver who was sacked for standing up for my colleagues' health and safety rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. I need your support.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: June 4, 2021

We have reached our first target!

We have reached our first £10,000 target, 11 days ahead of schedule. This is a fantastic achievement.

I would like to thank every single one of my supporters – your donations large and sma…

Read more

My name is David O'Sullivan and I am a London bus driver sacked for standing up for my colleagues' health and safety rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. I've worked on the London buses and London Underground for 30 years.

Bus workers in London have experienced more than 60 preventable deaths from COVID-19. The rate of fatalities is almost three times the national average, with families demanding answers.

In January, I asserted my rights to a safe workplace under Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act (1996). I was sacked after warning my colleagues about the spread of COVID-19 at the garage and informing them of their rights under the Act.

The London Bus Rank-and-File Committee had already reported serious COVID-19 safety breaches by management in September. We wrote to Metroline Managing Director Steven Harris, London Deputy Mayor for Transport Heidi Alexander and Unite the union officials John Murphy and Peter Kavanagh—but our calls for protection were ignored.

Section 44 gives all employees the right to refuse to work “in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believes to be serious and imminent”. Employees can remove themselves until “appropriate steps” are taken “to protect themselves or other persons in danger.” If workers do not have this right, then we are back in Dickensian times.

My claim against Metroline is a test case for the rights of key workers during the pandemic.

I need to raise £10,000 as soon as possible so that I can retain legal advice and submit a claim for unfair dismissal to the Employment Tribunal. We have already gathered evidence of major safety breaches. But I need your support: please donate and share this page now!

Metroline has hired a QC to oppose my claim for unfair dismissal-- so we are up against deep pockets. Your support--no matter how large or small--will help to ensure I have the best possible legal defence. I need to raise £20,000 to cover my legal costs.

I am proud to be represented by law firm Leigh Day, which has acted in high profile cases including litigation over blacklisting in the construction industry.

Thank you very much for your support.

Update 2

David O'Sullivan

June 4, 2021

We have reached our first target!

We have reached our first £10,000 target, 11 days ahead of schedule. This is a fantastic achievement.

I would like to thank every single one of my supporters – your donations large and small have made a huge difference.

This campaign has connected in a lot of ways with drivers’ own experiences, and those of key workers everywhere. It’s clear there is a thirst in the working class for a political fight back.

Dominic Cummings’ revelations at last week’s parliamentary health and science committee proved the Johnson government pursued a “herd immunity” strategy. The pandemic was allowed to spread without the government taking any serious virus eradication measures. This criminal policy was backed by Labour and the trade unions. As my case shows, workers were left defenceless.

In the words of the British Medical Journal, the prioritisation of profits over health and the suppression of scientific advice has resulted in a “maelstrom of avoidable harm”, including the deaths of more than 150,000 people. The same agenda has been pursued by governments all over the world, from the United States and India, to Brazil, France and Germany.

The issues raised in my campaign are universal ones facing working people all over the world. Data supplied by Crowd Justice shows the largest source of donor referrals has come via the World Socialist Web Site, which is read by growing numbers of workers worldwide.

I wish to publicly thank the WSWS for their support and for bringing my case to the attention of workers across the UK, Europe and internationally. I would also like to thank the team at Crowd Justice for all of their help.

This first £10,000 will allow my lawyers at Leigh Day to begin preparing my unfair dismissal case. Our stretch goal of £20,000 is needed to finance representation by a barrister at the hearing, which is likely to take place over several days. Please keep donating. I will keep everyone updated.

This is the first step in a public campaign that is winning growing support. In the past fortnight I have received messages from bus drivers in London, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester as well as transport workers, teachers, postal workers, miners and IT workers from Ireland, France, Germany, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and India.

As the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 is on the rise, with a dangerous uptick in infections and hospital admissions, this legal test case for key workers’ rights to a safe workplace in the pandemic takes on new urgency. Thank you once again, and please continue to do all you can to support this fight.

Yours sincerely,

David O’Sullivan

Visit my campaign page at:  https://www.wsws.org/en/topics/campaigns/defend-david-osullivan

Please continue to share my Crowd Justice page with your work colleagues, friends and family: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/test-case-for-key-worker-rights-during-pandemic/


Update 1

David O'Sullivan

May 20, 2021

We're just over half-way there!

My deep, heartfelt thanks to everyone who has donated so far to my Crowd Justice fundraiser. It’s a fantastic result.

In just a few days we’ve passed the half-way mark on the first £10,000 hurdle that I need to pass by June 16.

Metroline will fight tooth and nail to uphold my victimisation and sacking, and they have big resources. ComfortDelGro, the parent company, is worth more than £1 billion. But we have truth on our side.

At least 60 London bus workers have died from COVID-19. Our rights to a safe workplace have been systematically denied.

Please help spread the word. Here are some things you can do:

Email 5 friends and ask them to donate

Share my Crowd Justice page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tik Tok https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/test-case-for-key-worker-rights-during-pandemic/

Share this campaign video https://youtu.be/mwHzcvsY_ic

Altogether, I must raise £20,000. This includes fees for a barrister to challenge Metroline’s QC.

I have a big target to reach, but with your support I know we can get there.

Yours sincerely,

David O’Sullivan

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