By Sophie Squire
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Immigration raid targets Hackney couriers

Eight food couriers found themselves under arrest after protesting
Issue 2790
Couriers belonging to the IWGB union protest in Hackney

Couriers belonging to the IWGB union protesting in Hackney. (Guy Smallman)

Does protesting for decent pay make you more likely to be harassed by the police and immigration officials? That’s the question delivery drivers in east London are asking after colleagues were targeted by the cops.

Two days after joining a protest in Hackney, east London, eight food couriers found themselves under arrest.

The drivers have been battling the council and numerous delivery apps to open up a car park behind a McDonald’s for their use. They are also demanding that they be given shelter and a toilet.

If they use a nearby car park even for a short time, they are subject to fines often larger than the amount they hope to make in a night’s work.

The operation against the drivers was carried out by Charlton Vehicle Enforcement Teams, and arrests were made by Hackney police.

A courier that works in Hackney but didn’t want to be named told Socialist Worker that riders had their scooters taken. “Riders were told they had to pick their bikes up from Charlton Police Pounds, and that immigration and the police were checking their L-plates, food and motorbike insurance.

He added that the police regularly harass couriers. “Just this week, the police were telling workers that didn’t have orders to clear off the street or be fined £65.”

The IWGB union that represents the drivers responded to the raid by tweeting, “Why has Hackney Council decided to intensify traffic officer harassment of riders in the Ashwin Street area following the protest and the handing out of parking fines to riders?”

“We demand public clarification from the Major of Hackney, Phillip Glanville, that he had no involvement whatsoever in this raid taking place and for him to publicly condemn the raid and show his support for the couriers keeping Hackney going.”


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