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Gig Economy Drivers’ Wages Don’t Cover Living Costs

Four in five drivers working in the gig economy say their earnings don’t cover the cost of living according to a recent survey conducted by law firm Leigh Day.

Respondents who drive for Addison Lee and Bolt drivers disclosed their working conditions, including that they don’t have time to take breaks and over half (50.23%) saying that they work more than 12 hours a day.  Worryingly given the current climate of ever-increasing price rises, more than 80 per cent (81.4%) of the drivers surveyed said that the money they earn does not cover the cost of living.  Additionally, almost three quarters of drivers (73.26%) claimed they have worked more than six days in a row without taking a day off.

A Bolt driver responding to the survey said:

“Driving for Bolt is my main source of income but it’s hard to support my family on the money I make, even though I work long hours.

“Bolt says us drivers are self-employed but they can suspend our accounts so how can that be?

“Getting workers’ rights would make a big difference to me, especially with the price of everything going up. It’s stressful worrying about if I’ll earn enough money to pay all my bills each month.”

This illustrates the downside to the gig economy – that people are supposedly self-employed yet they don’t set their pay rates, they don’t have much choice over how, where and when they work, and their work is precarious at continual risk of their account (and access to the platform) being suspended.  We have previously reported on the negative impact that such gig work can have on your health.

Lawyers at Leigh Day have launched a group claim against Bolt arguing that, because of the way the company operates, drivers should be classified as workers.  They are seeking compensation for unpaid holiday and shortfalls in NMW.  You can find out more here.

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