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Uber decision puts gig economy drivers at risk
by Susie Hughes at 12:40 25/09/17 (News on Business)
Controversial 'app' taxi group, Uber, has had its licence to operate revoked by Transport for London.
The move, which Uber is widely expected to appeal, could potentially result in 40,000 Uber drivers, who form part of London’s ‘gig economy’, out of work.

The Uber workforce - and other similar companies - operate on a self-employed basis, which has always met with mixed reactions.

On the one hand, some welcome the freedom to work as and when they choose, while others think they are being exploited and denied employment rights.

Contractor tax adviser, Qdos Contractor, highlighted the importance of not confusing ‘gig economy’ workers with highly-qualified independent contractors, whose needs and motivations are fundamentally different.

While self-employment group, IPSE, said that it is extremely concerned about the impact it will have on the thousands of self-employed drivers who find work through the app.

Gig economy
Seb Maley, Qdos Contractor CEO, said: “That 40,000 of London’s gig economy workers are facing the prospect of being unable to drive for Uber so soon is obviously concerning. The ‘gig economy’ gives people more freedom and flexibility to work how and when they want, albeit recently coming under criticism for the lack of protection it offers workers.

“Following last year’s employment tribunal case, Uber drivers sit somewhere between self-employment and employment, and now receive holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the national minimum wage.

"But we must be clear that TfL’s ruling does not mean that potentially 40,000 independent contractors are now facing the prospect of being without work.

"It’s important we understand the difference between 'gig economy' workers and self-employed independent contractors, who in many cases do not need nor want similar rights to employees."

Chris Bryce, IPSE CEO said: “TfL’s decision not to renew Uber’s licence is perverse and will leave tens of thousands of hardworking, honest and dedicated self-employed drivers out of work. It is a bad move for London’s travellers and a disaster for people using the app to make a living. The vast majority of drivers who use the Uber platform are self-employed individuals who will now struggle to put food on the family table. Many of the drivers are tied in to lease deals on their cars and they will be incurring costs without a way to earn a living.

“This seems like a politically-motivated decision which totally ignores the many thousands of men and women who earn a living through the Uber app, and runs counter to what should be at the heart of (London Mayor) Sadiq Khan’s political agenda: ensuring the wellbeing of ordinary hardworking people.

“As a country, we should be embracing the innovation of the app-based economy. Denying it would be a Luddite move that suggests the UK is not open for business.

“We call on Sadiq Khan to think again, revoke his support for this decision and intervene to ensure drivers will be able to continue working. The self-employed simply want to earn a living without having to rely on the state.”

Uber has had its licence revoked on the grounds that it was not deemed a 'fit and proper' private hire company with concerns about its lack of corporate responsibility on issues which have potential public safety and security implications

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2017

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Uber decision puts gig economy... Susie Hughes - 25/09
    More Like a "Franchisee"? richard-s - 29/09

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