'Little improvement for UK gig economy workers' since major report highlighted their plight

September 13, 2018, British Sociological Association
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Little has improved for gig economy workers in the UK since the release of a major European report into the platform economy a year ago, a conference on work and employment heard.

Professor Chris Forde told the British Sociological Association eventin B elfast today [Thursday, 13 September 2018] that despite recent court cases in their favour, "for many workers, the experience of platform work remains highly insecure and precarious."

Professor Forde, of the Leeds University Business School, was a co-author of a report issued by the European Parliament last year which surveyed 1,200 workers in eight countries, including the UK.

The report found that British gig workers had a median average pay 47% lower than the national hourly for the UK, among the worst rate in the countries studied.

Professor Forde told the conference that, since then, "many gig economy workers are still unable currently to benefit from a range of basic employment rights and forms of social protection.

"A commonly held image of the platform is someone who is just doing gig work, choosing as much work as they want, and being well rewarded for it.

"But most platform workers seem to be using this form of work to supplement income and hours from other jobs. Worryingly, however, their average hourly rates of pay in the platform economy are often very low, working out well below the minimum wage in countries like France and the UK.

"Classified as self-employed contractors in most countries, platform economy workers are often not entitled to the minimum wage for the work they do.

"They are less likely to have access to key forms of social protection, and where they do have access to these, this access typically comes from an extra, regular job, since in work they are typically treated as independent contractors.

"Recent tribunal and court cases in the UK have seen some gig workers classified as 'workers', yet many others remain as independent contractors and self-employed."

Explore further: In test case for gig economy, UK court backs contractor

Related Stories

In test case for gig economy, UK court backs contractor

June 13, 2018

A London plumber who claimed he was unfairly dismissed after years of working as a contractor won a court ruling Wednesday giving him employment rights, in a closely watched case testing labor rules in the so-called gig economy.

Three reasons to raise the federal minimum wage

January 17, 2014

Leading economists, including Lisa M. Lynch, dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, sent a joint letter this week to President Obama and congressional leaders in support of the Fair Minimum Wage Act. ...

UK Uber drivers win case to get paid vacation, minimum wage

October 28, 2016

Uber's claim that its drivers are contractors—and not employees entitled to vacations—was rejected Friday by a British tribunal, in a ruling that may have implications for a range of companies that rely on self-employed ...

Foodora pulls out of Australia

August 3, 2018

Food delivery service Foodora is pulling out of Australia, with the German-based firm saying it is shifting focus to other markets months after being hit with lawsuits over its treatment of workers.

Workers are taking on more risk in the gig economy

July 7, 2016

To secure work in the gig economy, workers often have to contribute not just their time and labour but also their capital. This means workers are not only shouldering the risks associated with insecure employment but also ...

Recommended for you

Oldest-known aquatic reptiles probably spent time on land

September 19, 2018

The oldest known aquatic reptiles, the mesosaurs, probably spent part of their life on land, reveals a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. The fossilized bones of adult Mesosaurus share similarities ...

Research shows SE Asian population boom 4,000 years ago

September 19, 2018

Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have uncovered a previously unconfirmed population boom across South East Asia that occurred 4,000 years ago, thanks to a new method for measuring prehistoric population ...

Searching for new bridge forms that can span further

September 19, 2018

Newly identified bridge forms could enable significantly longer bridge spans to be achieved in the future, potentially making a crossing over the Strait of Gibraltar, from the Iberian Peninsula to Morocco, feasible.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.