Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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Trouble for the gig economy?

23 June 2017
City AM

The series of events that led to Travis Kalanick’s downfall revealed much about the toxic culture that has infected the upper echelons of Uber.

But it is the behaviour of those in charge towards the army of workers who sustain the gig economy that should determine whether it is to falter, or prosper. Kalanick should go because of the rampant exploitation of so many of his workers.  

An employment tribunal found last year that Uber is wrongly depriving its drivers of basic protections such as the minimum wage, sick pay, and holiday pay – my own investigation found that some drivers take home as little as £4 an hour. Likewise, Transport for London has yet to grant Uber a full renewal of its licence, due to concerns around its operations.

Elsewhere, an employment tribunal and an HMRC investigation into Hermes’ working practices – two moves I helped initiate – are picking up speed. Moreover, the Government will soon take delivery of the Taylor Review on employment rights in the gig economy.

Now is the time to sweep away two of the gig economy’s most egregious aspects – the bullying culture at the top; and the poor treatment and poverty pay meted out to workers at the bottom – so that it helps society as a whole prosper, rather than falter.


Frank Field, MP for Birkenhead


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