Fresh call for crackdown on gig economy


GETTY STOCKAbout 1.6 million people work for gig economy employers including Deliveroo and Uber in the UK

There should be the potential for employees to bring "class actions" in the Employment Tribunal for certain types of claims, including claims for unlawful deduction of wages, worker status, and under the Working Time Regulations.

United Kingdom legislators are expected to examine a new draft proposal put forward by Members of Parliament this week which looks to close loopholes gig employment loopholes and exploitation in the country's labour market.

When the Taylor Review published its report, "Good Work", in July (see our briefing here), many commented that the loss of the government's majority in the general election would mean its recommendations would be put on the back burner for some time.

Those 15,000 United Kingdom employees working for companies such as Deliveroo and Uber are under an "unacceptable burden" in proving they are not self-employed.

Deliveroo is a key employer in the gig economy.

DWP committee chair Frank Field said: "The two committees are today presenting the prime minister with an opportunity to fulfil the promise she made on the steps of Downing Street on her first day in office, with a draft bill that would end the mass exploitation of ordinary, hard-working people in the gig economy".

Self-employed workers therefore do not get benefits that regular employees enjoy such as minimum wage and holiday pay.

"Currently, these 1.3 million workers have few rights and are entirely excluded from the auto-enrolment programme due to their self-employed status", NOW: Pensions director of policy, Adrian Boulding, said. If a "class action" is brought successfully by one person, the result will apply to everyone in the class - currently, in the United Kingdom, class actions are limited to consumer protection cases.

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Earlier this month Uber lost an appeal against a tribunal ruling over the employment rights of its drivers.

Labour MP Rachel Reeves, who chairs the business committee, said: 'Uber, Deliveroo and others like to bang the drum for the benefits of flexibility for their workforce, but now all the burden of this flexibility is picked up by taxpayers and workers.

The union also said that Deliveroo had managed to "game the system".

But business group the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned the measures would stop firms from growing and creating jobs, while GMB Union said they do not go far enough, highlighting the contentious battle over the future of work.

The bill proposes asking the Low Pay Commission to test the idea of offering premium pay, above the legal minimum wage, to workers who do not have guaranteed hours. Last week, Deliveroo won in a case that ruled its riders are self-employed and not employees.

The CAC said it made the decision because Deliveroo's riders have the right to put forward a substitute to do their work in place of them. The company has previously said it would pay sickness and injury benefits to its riders if laws were changed.

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