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Labour brands Uber ‘morally unacceptable’ ahead of workers’ rights review launch

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey accused the taxi service of “exploiting” drivers.

Using Uber is not morally acceptable, a senior Labour shadow cabinet figure has said as Prime Minister Theresa May makes a keynote address on workers’ rights.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey accused the taxi service of “exploiting” drivers.

Ms Long-Bailey told the BBC: “I don’t personally use Uber because I don’t feel like it’s morally acceptable, but that’s not to say that they can’t reform their practices.

“I don’t like the way that they are exploiting their workers, and I think the recent case proved that in the courts, that suggested that the workers that were there were in fact workers, and they weren’t flexible workers, and they needed to be given the adequate amount of protection and rights that workers enjoy.

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Uber is an app that is an alternative to taxis ( Yui Mok/PA)

“I don’t want to see companies model their operation on the Uber model.

“Uber, for example, have been exploiting workers, and exploiting flexible arrangements that are in place. And it’s important to have flexibility in the workplace, but it has to be two-way flexibility. It has to be flexibility that’s enjoyed by the worker and the employer.”

The comments came as a Government-ordered review into the employment rights of workers in the gig economy, which calls for better jobs to be created, was attacked as “feeble”.

The review, headed by Matthew Taylor, a former adviser to Tony Blair, recommended a new category of worker called a “dependent contractor”, and said there should be “genuine two-way flexibility”, giving workers additional protections.

The report by Mr Taylor, the head of the Royal Society of Arts, said low-paid workers should not be “stuck” at the living wage minimum, nor should they face insecurity.

Speaking at its launch in London, Mrs May is expected to promise that the Government will act “to ensure that the interests of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and those people working in the ‘gig’ economy are all properly protected”.

But she will insist that Britain must avoid “overbearing regulation”, retain flexibility in the labour market and remain “a home to innovation, new ideas and new business models”.

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Unions have criticised the Taylor report for not doing enough for Uber and Deliveroo workers (Rui Vieira/PA)

Unions and employment lawyers criticised the report, which has taken nine months to produce, for doing little to help the growing number of workers in delivery and taxi firms such as Deliveroo and Uber.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “I worry that many gig economy employers will be breathing a sigh of relief this morning.

“From what we’ve seen, this review is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity and exploitation at work.

“We’d welcome any nuggets of good news, but it doesn’t look like the report will shift the balance of power in the modern workplace.”

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