UK Parliament Tells Gig Economy Bosses ‘Pay Your Workers or Else!’
REUTERS/ Simon DawsonBusiness16:55 20.11.2017(updated 17:04 20.11.2017) Get short URL
UK Parliamentary Committees have recommended tougher action on apps providing insecure work as the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) welcomes new report but says it’s not enough.
The UK House of Commons Work, Pensions and Business and Energy and Industrial Strategy Committees on November 20 released a joint report calling for the government to close loopholes allowing the exploitation of workers in the “gig-economy.” The government bodies have recommended measures to deter “irresponsible employers” from exploiting vulnerable workers, ranging from the issuing of fines, up to imprisonment.
Committee members called for harsher penalties in the expectation that the Government may not have the resources to ensure that employment laws are enforced. Sir David Metcalf who co-authored the report said, “if you don’t have enough enforcement resources, then the punishments should be larger.”
Around 15 percent of the workforce in Britain, equivalent to 5 million people, is classified as “self-employed.” The ‘gig-economy’ is estimated to employ nearly 1.3 million people in the country working for companies such as Uber, Addison Lee and Deliveroo.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which has supported many court-cases including suits against Uber and Deliveroo, welcomed the report’s conclusions and calls for legislation to be introduced to enforce the protection of these rights.
“The report provides a refreshing focus on government enforcement of employment law in the so-called ‘gig-economy,’ something which is long overdue. We are disappointed however, to see that the report doesn’t call for extending more basic employment rights, such as statutory sick pay or right to claim unfair dismissal to workers,” the IWGB head Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee said.
On November 10 Britain’s Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled that Uber drivers qualify for worker’s rights including the minimum wage, holiday-pay, paid rest-breaks and union representation.
In a similar case before the Central Arbitration Committee concerning Deliveroo, it was determined that the delivery app’s drivers could not be considered workers, but are instead ‘self-employed.’