Post-protest, IWGB President Dr. Jason Moyer Lee writes about the next phase of the mounting campaign against CitySprint
I am writing you to provide you with an account of our protest at your headquarters last Tuesday, 9 June, 2015. The protest had a great turnout, lots of enthusiasm, and support from Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales. And as I’m sure you have noticed, an incredible amount of press coverage. Just in case you haven’t seen all of the media reports, here are a few:
- Vice- http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/iwgb-cycle-couriers-city-sprint-348
- Hackney Citizen- http://hackneycitizen.co.uk/2015/06/09/bicycle-couriers-protest-over-pay-outside-citysprints-shoreditch-office/
- London Review of Books- http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2015/06/09/jon-day/on-your-bike/
- BBC London news
- Evening Standard- https://iwgb.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/eveningstandardarticle.jpg
- Huck magazine- http://www.huckmagazine.com/ride/bikes/londons-bike-couriers-rally/
There were a few others who have expressed an interest- such as the Guardian, Bloomberg TV, and the Financial Times- so we’ll be sure to send those to you when they come out as well
I must say that having watched your spokesperson blunder his way through the BBC interview, it seems that in addition to raising courier rates, investing in some PR training might want to make its way up the list of City Sprint budgetary priorities. However in the meantime perhaps your managers could be inspired by the saying: “it’s better to remain silent and appear a fool than to speak and remove any lingering doubt.”
You see, the predicament in which City Sprint has placed itself, is that you are attempting to justify the unjustifiable. In a choice between a large company which boasts of surpassing “revenues of over £100m” and exploited couriers who bike 50-80 miles per day in order to barely make minimum wage, most people will sympathise with the couriers. And with an effective campaigning union, that sympathy turns into people coming to protests, writing to your clients, favourable press coverage, high profile supporters, etc. This is only the beginning.
So, and purely as a matter of company self-interest, I would strongly encourage you to resolve this situation and raise the rates to the point where couriers are earning a minimum of the London Living Wage plus reasonable expenses. However, if you take the masochistic route to defeat, here’s what’s in store for the next few weeks:
- On the week of 15th of June, we will send a report of our protest and campaign to all of your clients we visited during the protest and we will encourage them to pressure you to pay fair wages;
- On the week of the 22nd of June we will encourage our social media supporters (which are currently in the hundreds) to email you petitions to raise your rates;
- On the week of the 29th of June we will do a flash surprise indoor protest at one of your major clients. We will document the event with pictures and send them to your other clients encouraging them to pressure you to pay the living wage;
- On the week of 6th of July we will release our second campaign video and post it on YouTube. The video will include firsthand accounts of horror stories from City Sprint workers. The video will expose not just poor pay but also lousy treatment from City Sprint;
- On the week of 13th of July we will return to your headquarters for another protest. We will then move the protest from your headquarters to one of your major clients.
Let me close by reminding you of our long-standing willingness to engage in dialogue and negotiations. As you might recall we offered City Sprint the opportunity to go down the dialogue route before we launched this campaign. This campaign is a consequence of your refusal to engage in negotiations.
Needless to say, this campaign will continue until we have won.
Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee