Loach claimed last night that driver Don Lane was too “terrified” to take a sick day to go to the doctors so he gradually fell ill and collapsed after he missed his third appointment.
The I, Daniel Blake director said the diabetes patient avoided going to hospital after his employer fined him for missing work due to a previous appointment.
Mr Loach said: “Don Lane was a 53-year-old van driver, he was diabetic, he had an appointment with a specialist at hospital.
“He went, he was fined £150 a day because he didn’t provide a replacement driver. Of course he lost his money and he had to pay for the van he was renting or hiring.
“He had further appointments and he decided not to go because he’d be in debt, he didn’t have the resources, he didn’t go.”
“Now you tell me that’s justified, you tell me that’s right – that a worker is so terrified to have a day off for sickness because he’ll be fined and therefore he dies,” he added.
“That’s the gig economy, that’s what it’s doing to working people.”
The Question Time audience cheered and applauded at the end of Mr Loach’s speech.
Many on social media have also hailed Loach as a “working class hero” for speaking out about the gig economy.
One said he was “spot on about exploitation of gig workers on zero hour contracts” while another said he is “a bit of a working class hero”.