MPs move to limit gig economy

MPs move to limit gig economy

Last week, takeaway service Deliveroo won a case at the Central Arbitration Committee, which ruled that the food delivery app's couriers are self-employed, rather than workers.

Two influential House of Commons committees are calling on politicians to prevent companies making "bogus" assertions that workers are freelance.

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.

"But we recognise that the labour market is not working for everyone which is why we commissioned Matthew Taylor to review modern working practices to ensure our employment rules and rights keep up to date".

Business, energy and industrial strategy committee chair, Rachel Reeves, said: "Responsible businesses deserve a level-playing field to compete, not a system which rewards unscrupulous businesses".

Work and Pensions committee chair Frank Field has led the charge against gig economy firms and said that those working under such conditions were not getting a fair deal.

The committees said that fines levied against firms would make sure that "the risks of being caught outweigh the gains companies stand to make from illegal practices".

Of the UK's 5 million self-employed - about 15 percent of the workforce - around 1.6 million are thought to work for firms such as Uber and Deliveroo, who class themselves as agencies and their workers as independent contractors.

"Self-employed" workers who log on to the gig-business technology platform to find work do not automatically receive statutory benefits.

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

Former Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam address the media as they leave the Employment Appeals Tribunal
Former Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam address the media as they leave the Employment Appeals Tribunal

Information and Consultation regulations should also apply to "worker" groups: "We recommend that people on worker contracts, as well as employees, be counted towards the 50 workers needed before a company is covered by the ICE regulations".

Being a worker isn't the same as being an employee, however, which is another category that entitles people to sick pay, notice periods, and protection against unfair dismissal.

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.

'We say that companies should pay higher wages when they are asking people to work extra hours or on zero-hours contracts'.

"Recent cases demonstrate a need for greater clarity in the law to protect workers".

It is also facing a challenge to retain its operating licence in London after transport chiefs said it could not be renewed on corporate responsibility grounds.

Stronger penalties against firms which break employment laws have been proposed while the government is being urged not to make changes that would undermine current laws on the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.

MPs have called for a change in the law to prevent companies exploiting workers.

"Swedish derogation" loophole to be eliminated: This has enabled some employers to opt-out of equal pay for agency workers with more than 12 weeks' service, which has been "subject to widespread abuse".