UK: Gig economy workers again call on govt. to change laws denying them basic rights following death of a self-employed courier

Author: Robert Booth, The Guardian, Published on: 7 February 2018

Gig economy workers have expressed anger that long-awaited changes to working practices in Britain have stopped short of bringing in new laws to prevent bogus self-employment, which denies basic rights to around 1.1 million couriers, minicab drivers and other workers.

Theresa May announced a raft of new labour policies that she said would mean “tangible progress” towards upholding workers’ rights, in response to a Downing Street-commissioned review by Matthew Taylor. But there was disappointment from workers, trade unions and Labour that the government has only pledged to consult on possible changes to the use of self-employment, which may not include changing the law.

The issue was brought into sharp focus this week following the death of [...] a self-employed courier for DPD who missed medical appointments to treat his diabetes, partly because he was afraid of facing £150 a day charges that formed part of his contract as “franchisee” with DPD. The case provoked widespread outrage and on Tuesday, John Lewis joined Marks & Spencer as major customers of DPD, in demanding answers from the parcel company...

There had been hope the government would bring employment law into line with the judgments of several employment tribunals that have ruled in favour of gig economy workers – including for Uber and City Sprint – which ruled they are workers and not self-employed and so should enjoy paid holiday, the minimum wage and other rights.

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Related companies: John Lewis (part of John Lewis Partnership) Marks & Spencer Uber