Friday, June 25, 2021
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Pressure on bosses to give their staff a fair deal after Uber u-turn over workers’ rights

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Britain’s gig economy businesses were today under intense pressure to hand key work benefits to their armies of “zero hours” couriers and drivers following a dramatic U-turn by Uber.

The surprise decision prompted MPs, union leaders and employment lawyers to call on other gig economy giants including food delivery companies Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats, as well as courier firms such as Yodel and Amazon local delivery partners, to follow suit.

An estimated five million people in Britain make their living in the gig economy, often as self-employed contractors working flexible hours but with few of the legal benefits and protection of full-time employees.

Labour’s shadow employment rights and protections secretary Andy McDonald said: “The Government need to urgently introduce legislation to clarify the position of all gig economy workers. Gig economy workers under similar arrangements across the economy must now also be recognised as workers.”

However, Deliveroo, which has 50,000 UK riders, said it would not make the same commitment unless there was a change in the law that forced all gig economy firms to provide the benefits.

Daniel Hambury

A spokesperson for Deliveroo, which is preparing to raise £1 billion through a stock market listing of its shares this spring, said: “Deliveroo has always said that we want to offer riders full flexibility and more security. This interpretation of when drivers are working differs from the Supreme Court’s recent ruling.

“The uncertainty is why we have called for a change to the law to ensure that riders can benefit from the flexibility they want, while receiving the benefits they deserve.” They pointed out that the ruling did not apply to Uber Eats.

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