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28 May 2021

Freya Pratty, Sifted

UK: Report finds Bolt & Amazon lagging behind in providing fair labour conditions to gig economy workers

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"Bolt and Amazon worst on gig economy working conditions, Oxford University says", 25 May 2021

Bolt and Amazon offer the worst working conditions for gig economy workers in the UK, a new report says.

The report, released Tuesday by researchers at Oxford University, rates eleven of the UK’s most popular digital labour platforms — including Uber, JustEat and Deliveroo — on fair pay, fair representation and fair working conditions.

The findings come as the UK’s gig economy continues to grow. In 2019, 4.7m people were working on gig economy platforms but, as the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of online delivery services, the current figure is estimated to be significantly higher.

Companies were scored out of ten on criteria including: if they pay the minimum wage, if they have a system in place workers can appeal decisions, if they have transparent contracts and if they promote the health and safety of workers.

Ride hailing app and food delivery service Bolt — as well as Amazon Flex, the delivery arm of Amazon — both scored zero, meaning they failed on all categories. Estonian-headquartered Bolt has been a VC darling over the past few years, cinching unicorn status and pledging to dethrone Uber...

...Speaking on the release of the new findings, Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Unions Congress, said the report shows new platforms using “the age-old practice of worker exploitation.”...

O’Grady highlighted, however, that there are signs of change, particularly after the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year that Uber drivers are not self-employed and are therefore entitled to a minimum wage and working time protections...

The report, which was published by the University of Oxford, can be accessed in full here.