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The focus of today’s Freelancers in the Media is the idea of unity. There is a distinct lack of collective muscle in our industry, and that needs to change so we can move forward. Nowhere is that more clear than with the cases in the High Court.

Deliveroo rides have lost their case in the High Court today and are not entitled to collective bargaining. The IWUGB has already stated that they are planning to appeal the ruling. The union claimed that not allowing collective bargaining breached the basic rights of Deliveroo riders under Article 11 of the European Commission for Human Rights.

The court argued that the personal service obligation does not prevent riders from belonging to the union if they so choose, so they cannot ask for collective bargaining to negotiate terms and conditions or holidays.

According to a House of Lords economic affairs committee report, HMRC has pursued IT contractors and NHS workers for tax avoidance, but have failed to investigate those who set up the schemes.

Currently, with the APN (accelerated payment notices), contractors accused of tax avoidance must pay their tax but have no right to appeal to a tax tribunal. Since 1999, it has been estimated that 50,000 contractors have allowed their payroll to be run by offshore umbrella accounts, and many of the freelancers who did so were told to by their employers. The response of the HMRC to crack down on avoidance has left many without the ability to contest what they are accused of. IPSE strongly believes that changes must be made reflect a fairer outcome for the freelance community.

In the Spectator, Andrew Willshire points out that Philip Hammond’s rhetoric at freelance workers who will soon be affected by the changes made to IR35 wrong, but it is actually the companies that hire contractors that are attempting to avoid tax. He also points out that the claim that this will raise £2.9 billion by 2024 has been disputed within the industry and it doesn’t take into account the damage to the wider economy. It also means fewer people will be able to do contract work, meaning companies looking for temporary help in a specialist area will struggle.

Flexible workers are more likely to take less leave and are far more productive than their 9-5 counterparts, so share that with your parents next time they ask why you haven’t found a “proper” gig yet. This is mirrored by co-working spaces that are swiftly improving the office enviroment.

Adobe has also chosen to invest £63.5 million into the UK creative sector, and the creative industry has grown at nearly twice the rate of the economy since 2010. A union of flexible workers in the creative industry is an important part of keeping this idea alive.

 

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