Uber driver’s assault spurs calls for more protection of B.C. gig workers

Click to play video: 'Uber driver attack spurs calls for more gig worker supports'
Uber driver attack spurs calls for more gig worker supports
An Uber driver who was hurt in a caught-on-camera assault last week is adding his voice to calls for the B.C. government to provide more support for 'gig' workers. Christa Dao reports. – Apr 26, 2023

An Uber driver who was attacked while on the job met with B.C.’s provincial labour minister Wednesday to demand more protection for workers in the gig economy.

Aman Sood was attacked last Tuesday night in Abbotsford, B.C., and the incident was captured on dashcam.

Click to play video: 'Video shows attack on Uber driver in Abbotsford'
Video shows attack on Uber driver in Abbotsford

Sood said the passenger became verbally abusive over his route choice and when Sood pulled over, the passenger attacked him.

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The video shows the passenger leaning forward, yelling and then beginning to punch Sood in the head.

Sood gets out of the car, following the passenger, and more yelling can be heard coming from outside.

Sood said he has not been able to work since.

“Almost all the time I have a headache,” he told reporters Wednesday. He said he also has pains in his arm and his shoulder.

Click to play video: 'Shocking video shows attack on Vancouver Uber driver'
Shocking video shows attack on Vancouver Uber driver

Sood and Sussanne Skidmore, the head of the B.C. Federation of Labour, is calling for the province to change legislation to allow gig workers to access benefits if they are hurt while on the job.

“When I talked to Aman the other day, one of the things he said to me was, ‘I can’t stop that this thing happened to me but I can ensure that it doesn’t happen to other workers,'” Skidmore said.

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In a statement, Uber Canada said, “The behaviour in the video is disturbing and unacceptable. We’ve banned the rider’s account, been in touch with the driver, and stand ready to work with police on any investigation.”

Uber also confirmed it has been in contact with the Abbotsford police.

Police confirmed Wednesday that the incident is currently under investigation and is “very active” at this time.

They did confirm that no arrests have been made at this time and added incidents such as this one are very rare in the city.

Click to play video: 'Uber and Lyft drivers: employees or independent contractors?'
Uber and Lyft drivers: employees or independent contractors?

Skidmore said they would like to see gig workers covered by the Workers Compensation Board in B.C. and the WorkSafe programs.

Uber Canada said since January 2022, it has been working with UFCW Canada, the country’s largest private sector union, to jointly advocate for a set of industry-wide standards that would preserve the flexibility drivers and delivery people value while introducing benefits and protections they need.

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The company said it would like to see the B.C. government enact its package of reforms for these workers, which includes occupational accident coverage that covers injuries sustained during work.

Click to play video: 'B.C. man posing as Uber driver charged with sexual assault'
B.C. man posing as Uber driver charged with sexual assault

B.C. Minister of Labour Harry Bains confirmed Wednesday the government is looking at ways to protect these workers and what kind of protection and support is available for them.

“Regardless of who the employer is, our emphasis always is the workers, their health and safety,” Bains said.

“No matter who they are, their responsibility is the health and safety of their employees and when they are injured, whey they are ill, then what kind of support is available to them and we want to make sure that we are covered.”

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