Independent Contractors at a Royal Mail subsidiary company, eCourier, are striking in order to be recognised as employees and therefore receive a guaranteed minimum wage as well as holiday and sick pay.
The same-day delivery service has clients such as NHS hospitals, private healthcare provider HCA and Deliotte, who will be impacted by the strikes.
Riders in Sheffield are striking against Deliveroo to call for them to stop decreasing their already low pay. The strikers are being supported by Sheffield Trade Union Council (TUC).
Sheffield TUC secretary Martin Mayer said that Deliveroo in Sheffield had reduced a £4.25 minimum per-delivery payment to as little as £2.21.
“No company should think it can get away with a business model based on low pay, casualisation, bogus self-employment and arbitrary cuts in pay for deliveries.
“Yet that is precisely what Deliveroo – a hugely profitable global company – is doing. Fair pay, job security and union recognition are essential rights for all workers.”
A former contractor for Eclipse Theatre has accused them of being “exploitative” and has made a claim against them to an employment tribunal.
The contractor, Chardine Taylor-Stone, is a writer and cultural producer who worked for Eclipse Theatre 3 and a half days a week for just under a year. She claims that her role in the company was closer to that of a full time employee and to put her on a contract was “exploitative”.
In her claim she is seeking compensation from Eclipse for their failure to pay for her annual leave entitlement and holiday pay.
The lack of free movement throughout Europe as a result of Brexit will cause freelancers and their clients to suffer, according to the Creative Industries Federation.
The Queen’s Speech on 14th October included 3 motions regarding the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill:
- free movement for EU citizens under UK law will come to an end.
- the treatment of EU citizens arriving in the UK post-January 2021 will mirror the treatment of non-EU citizens
- confirmation of the deadline for EU Settlement Scheme applications.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson spoke to a member of the Creative Industries Federation last month at London’s Somerset House, saying: “We know that self-shrinking isolationism will fail our cultural economy.
“The prime example is ease of movement. Touring is the lifeblood of your industries, from orchestras, to dance productions, to individual artists alike.
“Losing the ability to cross borders quickly and easily would be disastrous, with UK Music warning that the knock-on effects of ‘No Deal’ could result in a 40 per cent income loss for acts touring the EU.”
Research by think tank Centre for Cities has found that as the number of self-employed people in the North East of England is rising, it could be causing the region to fall into a low-wage spiral.
This is because three quarters of self-employed people in the North East are in low to medium skilled jobs, and without the government offering training opportunities to allow workers to access promotions, workers will be unable to keep up with the changing economy and be trapped in low wage jobs.
In order for the Gig economy to thrive and workers to continue in their freelance capacities, the International Bar Association’s Global Employment Institute believe that freelancers should be given the same payment and protection rights as employees.
A report by IBA GEI investigated workers’ rights across 16 countries, and recommended that workers receive holiday pay and still retain flexible working hours and entitlements to employment protection.
They are urging international governments to consider a third category of worker, in between employee and self-employed, in order to support the gig-economy.
Chris Van Olmen, an IBA GEI board member, said: “Although the on demand economy model may possibly create actual or perceived unfair competition for traditional companies, it has opened up a world of opportunities for entrepreneurs who strive for innovation.
“However, there are some serious discrepancies between the legal rights of on-demand economy works and those who are treated as traditional employees or self-employed persons.
“We must address these issues and create an environment where different working styles are not only tolerated, but celebrated.”
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