Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You: Why I feel guilty after watching hard-hitting film – Helen Martin

Sorry We Missed You, the film by Ken Loach, is a work of fiction that exposes the reality of what it can be like to work in the gig economy. It should make us all change the way we shop, writes Helen Martin.

Monday, 11th November 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 11th November 2019, 2:38 pm
Kris Hitchen as Ricky in Sorry We Missed You
Kris Hitchen as Ricky in Sorry We Missed You

GUILT is a terrible feeling – and it struck me hard last week in the cinema. Regular readers might recall my consumer tale of dreadful delivery from an online order; five disasters in one week. The online company was good to deal with, the white van drivers and depot were not.

Himself and I went to see Ken Loach’s latest movie Sorry We Missed You. His works are never “fictional”. And most know Palme d’Or winner I, Daniel Blake was based on deadly welfare bureaucracy. This one was based on the gig economy in which delivery firms sign up “franchised” drivers, make them buy their own vans, don’t employ them, don’t permit holidays, charge them massively for emergency time off, and impose so many more unbelievable rules and costs.

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It was hard to believe such non-employment was even legal let alone as exploitative. I don’t want to reveal the whole story, but I would love it if everyone, especially MPs and MSPs, went to see the film and emerged determined to criminalise such operations. I have such faith in them, I cannot imagine Nicola Sturgeon or Ian Murray for example, are totally aware of this or they would have brought it up in their parliaments.

I’m sorry I complained about the delivery. I’m not sorry that I initially felt online shopping had disastrous consequences, and this was the worst of all.

If I buy anything else online, I will have to phone, ask which delivery firm is involved, and if it really employs its drivers. I will then ask, if they want me to go ahead with the order, to email me confirming they’ve guaranteed it’s not a “gig gang”.