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Uber and CitySprint to face parliament

Uber and other courier firms including CitySprint who have continued to deny workers employment rights, despite tribunal rulings are being called to give evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into the so called Gig economy.

The chair of the work and pensions committee, Frank Field MP, is to see whether changes to legislation and enforcement are needed to ensure workers have their legal employment rights. 

Recent tribunals against these companies ruled that couriers and taxi drivers should be classified as workers and be entitled to holiday pay and he minimum wage. The firms failed to deliver those rights across their workforce, and argued that their drivers and riders were self-employed contractors.

 “The inquiry will, I hope, shine a bright light on the extent to which justice is being evaded in the gig economy,” said Field, who resigned the Labour whip late August. “We will be looking to suggest any immediate changes that are required, both to the law itself as well as its enforcement, to ensure no company is able to evade justice.”

Since the tribunal ruling Uber has offered improved conditions for UK drivers, including limited insurance, limits on working hours and a 24-hour phone line for support.

Couriers working for its Uber Eats takeaway delivery service this week protested outside the company’s London head office over a change in pay structure, which they said left them out of pocket.

In November 2017 CitySprint was accused of making a mockery of Britain’s employment rights system after changing couriers’ contracts rather than giving them the minimum wage and holiday pay, despite losing an employment tribunal case on the issue.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain said it was frustrated that there had been no sign of significant change. Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the union, which has been involved in a number of tribunal actions on workers’ status, said: “For a couple of years now we have been winning tribunal claims against courier and private hire companies. Yet despite this somehow these workers are still not getting the rights they’re entitled to. The enforcement system is clearly broken, and this inquiry will shine a welcome spotlight on its abject failure.”

Field will be publishing his findings alongside a series of recommendations before Christmas after gathering evidence from individuals, enforcement specialists, legal experts, companies and trade unions. Sir David Metcalf, will also be invited to contribute to the inquiry.

If you require specialist legal advice on a similar matter, contact the team on 0844 556 3525

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