The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB)

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is a trade union representing low paid migrant workers, such as outsourced cleaners and security guards, and platform workers in UK. 

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) represents mainly low paid migrant workers, such as outsourced cleaners and security guards, and platform workers. IWGB was founded in 2012, and its branches undertake campaigns for better pay and working conditions. IWGB has taken to court several platform operators on a range of employment matters.

On 23 March 2020, IWGB announced that the union would sue the government to denounce that statutory sick pay arrangements in the light of COVID-19 discriminate against workers from ethnic minorities, women and platform workers. The union pleas that the government’s 80% wage subsidies for employees further discriminate against platform workers. On the same day, the union launched a £20,000 (€22,261) crowd-funder to protect itself from potential legal costs.

On 21 October 2020, IWGB attended the High Court to bring a judicial review that could extend health and safety rights to all ‘workers’, including workers in the platform economy. Many of these workers, including Uber drivers and parcel couriers, were designated ‘key workers’ by the government during the first wave of COVID-19.

On 13 November 2020, the High Court has ruled in favour of IWGB that the UK government has failed to transpose important EU health and safety protections into UK law. The judgment means that platform workers are entitled to the same EU-derived health and safety rights as employees. Key rights are to be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by the business they are working for and the right to take legal action against platforms who dismiss them for refusing work in dangerous conditions. The UK government must take steps to ensure that workers have the same protection as employees.

Further reading:


  • Initiative
  • COVID-19, Negotiation of working conditions, Organising and representing workers
  • United Kingdom
  • Employee organisation
  • Yes
  • no specific sector focus
  • COVID-19, health and safety, social protection
  • English
  • 2021
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