Thursday, January 21News For London

MP’s report calls for laws to protect gig economy workers

Influential MPs are calling on the government to close the loopholes that let gig economy firms use ‘bogus’ self-employment status to exploit workers.

A report published on Monday by the work and pensions select committee and the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) committee said the law must require gig economy companies such as Deliveroo or Uber to provide basic safety standards and benefits.

They published a draft legislation to define employment status to prevent agency workers from being paid less than permanent staff for doing the same job.

In the UK there are around 1.6 million gig workers, most of which are young people (Photo: Shopblocks)

This is affecting mainly young workers that sometimes have to accept gig work because they don’t have other options. Former Uber driver, Carlo Lagorio, gave Westminster World a workers’ point of view:

 

The level of self-employment in the UK increased from 3.8 million in 2008 to 4.6 million in 2015, according to the Office for National Statistics. Among them, 1.6 million people are gig workers, according to the last report of RSA – Action and Reseach Centre.

Twitter reacted positively to the news:

The chairs of the two committees, Frank Field and Rachel Reeves, wrote in an article in The Times: “In few areas is there a more urgent need to tackle injustice and inequality than the world of work.”

They said Britain’s labour market is characterised by its entrepreneurial spirit and economic dynamism, “but too many workers are locked out of opportunities and prosperity. For them, the labour market is scarred by insecurity and injustice.”

This comes one week after Deliveroo won the right not to give riders minimum wage or holiday pay, in a ruling by Central Arbitration, and ten days after Uber lost its appeal against a ruling that its drivers should be classed as workers with minimum-wage rights.

A spokesperson said the government would respond fully on this matter at a later date.

(Subbing: Katt Adachi)