This is the dark side of the so called ‘gig-economy’, where bosses can cast aside drivers for failing to be slaves to their appliances
GMB, the union for Taxi and private hire drivers, has welcomed calls from the Welsh Government for Uber to develop a business culture in line with the Government’s fair work agenda.
Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Transport, called for stronger regulation of Uber in Wales
Speaking in relation to the Welsh Government’s fair work agenda, he raised concerns to the BBC that the Industry failed to give assurances of secure environment in which to work, and offer a fair wage for employees.
The Labour Assembly Member for Clwyd South also said he hoped to develop a culture where everybody employed as a taxi driver or a private hire vehicle driver is able to work in comfort and for a decent salary.
The Cabinet Secretary’s views have been welcomed by GMB who have been highly critical of Uber’s business practices and recently joined a delegation of Uber, Amazon and Hermes workers to inform a parliamentary committee of MPs about the horrors of life in the gig economy.
John Phillips, Regional Secretary GMB Wales and South West said:
“GMB is really pleased the Welsh Government recognises there is a problem and is seeking to protect good, local licensed drivers and the important services that they provide.
“We support the call for a national standards approach to ensure consistency, safety and fairness in all areas of the sector.
“Regrettably, Uber refuses to accept that they are an employer of the thousands of drivers across England and Wales, continuing to apply practices that do not permit payment of a living wage, paid rest breaks and holidays as well as not abiding by laws that limit working hours.
“Our recent evidence to the Parliamentary Committee painted a very different picture to that potrayed by Uber, with drivers earning as little as £6 an hour after costs. “
This is the dark side of the so called ‘gig-economy’, where bosses can cast aside drivers for failing to be slaves to their appliances.
“Far from being innovative, this form of technological change is taking us back to the days when employers controlled and exploited their workforces.
“The impact of unfair treatment and on-going uncertainty and insecurity upon mental health and well-being of drivers is considerable, too.
“The minister is correct in identifying the need for a ‘fair work’ approach to be taken throughout the industry.”
Mike Payne, Political officer GMB Wales and South West, added:
“GMB is keen to see that Uber extends full employment rights, and associated terms and conditions to all of its drivers.
“We applaud Ken Skates for taking a strong line on ensuring that the abuse of individual drivers stops.
“Uber is in effect managing drivers on what in any other industry would be seen as a full time contract.
“If the only way that Uber can be profitable is to pick the pockets of these drivers, then the Welsh Government should take the same line as TFL and deny them their right to trade in Wales.
“In addition, GMB calls upon the 22 Local Authorities in Wales to tighten up on the licensing of vehicles and the issuing of operating licences.
“Drivers should be treated consistently across Wales and Uber should not be allowed to continue to exploit loop holes in the Law.
“GMB welcomes the Welsh Government’s review of taxi legislation, and looks forward to working with them to design legislation that will protect the service user, protect the drivers and lead to a truly integrated transport system for the people of Wales.”