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New ruling offers workers hope for more rights in the Gig Economy

Published: Friday 15th March 2019

The gig economy has been heralded as a new age in employment. With workers receiving more flexibility and control over the hours they work. But, on the other side of the coin, there have been numerous debates and court cases over the rights of workers in the gig economy to the extent that Prime minister, Theresa May, is now looking to overhaul employment law.

Gig Economy concept with young woman in a thoughtful pose

Fighting for workers’ rights

Legal battles have been raging for several years now. Deliveroo riders and Uber drivers, for instance, are fighting to be recognised as workers instead of self-employed. Unfortunately, in the case of Deliveroo, a UK High Court has ruled that they can’t lobby together on pay as they currently aren’t classed as employees of the firm. This is down to the fact that the company does allow riders to pass jobs they’re unwilling to do onto other riders.

Uber, the taxi firm has already lost the case brought against it by two drivers, Mr Aslam and Mr Ferrar. Not to mention a subsequent appeal, but is now set to challenge that ruling in the Supreme Court.

Hermes concedes defeat

However, when it comes to courier jobs at delivery firm, Hermes, things look set to change. After an employment tribunal in Leeds ruled that couriers were entitled to receive minimum wage, holiday pay and reclaim unlawful deductions from their wages, due to being erroneously classed as self-employed, the workers will now see a pay rate of at least £8.55 per hour.

Portrait Of One Of The Courier Employees With Digital Tablet Delivering Package

The claim was brought to the court by the GMB Union. The results should be felt by 14,500 Hermes couriers. While Hermes was originally planning to appeal, the company decided instead to enter into talks with the GMB and has now said that it will now offer minimum wage and holiday pay to drivers. This is the first instance of a firm operating in the gig economy to do so. Workers at Hermes will have the option of remaining self-employed or opting into a contract that should guarantee more rights. Meanwhile, the GMB is now taking legal action against another three Amazon delivery firms.

Regulation coming for gig economy

It’s a hugely important development that will have broad implications for the growing gig economy – especially when you consider that the number of people self-employed, many in gig economy jobs, rose from 3.3 million in 2001 (12% of the workforce) to 4.8 million in 2017 (15% of the labour market).

Hopefully, it will provide some incentive to other firms operating in the gig economy to follow suit. 2019 will hopefully be the year that the gig economy gets the regulation it so desperately needs. This will help to protect low earners from bogus self-employment.

Folders with the label Regulations and Policies regarding employment legislation

Are you looking for opportunities with companies that really care about their employers and offer genuine incentives to workers? Start your job search on Zoek. Right now, we have a number of new delivery driving jobs throughout the UK.

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