MPs Want Pensions, Other Contract Rights For Uber Workers

Deliveroo

Deliveroo

The Business Department said the government would "respond in due course", while pointing out there are "record numbers of people in work thanks to our flexible labour market, benefitting both workers and business".

Previous year two Uber drivers won a tribunal case demanding to be classified as "workers" rather than self-employed contractors, and while Uber has been appealing that decision it has yet to succeed.

"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".

Jobs include couriers, ride-hailing drivers and video producers.

The report by the work and pensions select committee and the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) committee aims to close loopholes that that have allowed "irresponsible" employment practices to proliferate since the 2008 financial crisis. It's not clear how that would work, since a lot of gig economy work is based on people's needs at any given time - needs that can't really be predicted.

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That means they have no protection against unfair dismissal, no right to redundancy payments, and no right to receive the national minimum wage, paid holiday or sickness pay.

"The fact remains that without real investment in HMRC and a political will to get tough on rogue employers who are cheating the British taxpayer out of millions and reaping profits out of worker exploitation, then there will be no significant change", said the GMB's general secretary, Tim Roache, while allowing the proposals "may make a small difference".

The bill said the law around the gig economy should be tightened to stop companies using false self-employment status for "cheap labour and tax avoidance", to prevent the law being used to facilitate workers' exploitation for competitive advantage.

The committees made their case as companies such as Uber and Deliveroo insist the flexibility of work is attractive.

"Rachel Reeves, chair of the business, energy and industrial strategy select committee, said workers' rights should not be sacrificed for flexibility: "[Gig economy employers] 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.

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

"If these plans go ahead, they may make a small difference", said Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB union which initially represented Uber drivers at a landmark employment tribunal previous year.

"Deliveroo riders are self-employed for one reason only, it allows them to work flexibly, which riders tell us is exactly what they want", a spokesman said.

"Alongside this flexibility and good pay, we want to offer riders more security - such as injury pay and sick pay".

Mr Taylor has urged the government to act.

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They included a proposal that workers be given the right to request fixed hours and permanent contracts.

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