Some 4.4 million people rely on gig economy platforms for at least part of their income, a figure that has more than doubled between 2016 and 2021. This growing sector is controversial with concerns that workers are being exploited or treated unfairly, so academic group Fairwork has independently analysed five fairness aspects of the most popular platforms.
Fairwork’s report covers a diverse range of sectors, including food delivery, grocery delivery, ride hailing, care work, and cleaning services. Pedal Me, Getir, Gorillas, Uber, Amazon Flex, Deliveroo, Stuart, Just Eat, Ola, Task Rabbit, Uber Eats, Care.com, Bolt, Helpling, and Yoopies have been scored out ten against five principles of fair work – Fair Pay, Fair Conditions, Fair Contracts, Fair Management, and Fair Representation.
Only 3 of the platforms (Getir, Gorillas and Pedal Me) could evidence that they could ensure workers’ gross pay is at or above the minimum wage (£9.50/ hour). The same three platforms could also evidence that their workers earn a living wage (£9.90/hour for the UK and £11.50/hour for London)
Out of 15 platforms, Amazon Flex, Deliveroo, Getir, Gorillas, Pedal Me, Stuart, and Uber were able to evidence that they take meaningful action to mitigate task-specific risks. Specifically, platforms ensured safety equipment is provided, emergency response systems are in place, and private insurance is free of charge. However, only two platforms (Getir and Pedal Me) could evidence that they took steps to ensure a safety net for their workers.
10 platforms (Amazon Flex, Care.com, Deliveroo, Getir, Gorillas, Just Eat, Pedal Me, Taskrabbit, Uber, and Uber Eats) have clear and accessible terms and conditions. However, only three platforms (Getir, Gorillas and Pedal Me) were able to evidence that they ensured that no unfair contract terms were imposed on workers.
5 platforms (Amazon Flex, Deliveroo, Getir, Gorillas, Pedal Me, and Stuart) could evidence an effective system of due process for decisions affecting workers, which means that there is a clear and documented process for workers to meaningfully appeal low ratings, non-payment, payment issues, deactivations, and other penalties and disciplinary actions. The same 5 have issued public statements in support of equality, diversity and inclusion, and implemented meaningful policies to combat discrimination, yet only four met the second point for Fair Management.
Collective organisation and representation is a fundamental right for workers and employees in most countries, yet ‘self-employed’ workers lack this right in the UK. Only 2 of the platforms – Pedal me and Uber – could evidence that they ensure freedom of association and the expression of collective worker voice. One of the most significant developments over the past year is the voluntary recognition of the GMB union by Uber.