Belfast Telegraph

'Gig' economy review to examine scale of sector and why workers take up its jobs

The Government is launching a review into the scale of the so-called "gig" economy, in which temporary positions are common, and why workers take up jobs in the sector.

The move is part of a wider review of employment practices, being led by chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts Matthew Taylor, looking at workers' rights and employers' obligations.

A three-person panel was announced ahead of a regional tour to areas including Glasgow, Coventry and Maidstone to talk with both sides of industry about the labour market.

Business minister Margot James said: "The Taylor Review is a hugely important step towards us ensuring fairness for everyone in work.

"Helping us to understand what impact modern employment practices have on workers will inform our forthcoming industrial strategy and also help us ensure our labour market and wider economy works for everyone.

"We recognise the importance of being open to new and innovative ways of working - and having a skilled and flexible workforce is part of what makes the UK an attractive place to do business.

"But it is also crucial that workers receive a decent wage and that people working in all sorts of jobs are able to benefit from the right balance of flexibility, rights, and protections."

Around 15% of the workforce are self-employed, including those paid for the "gigs" they do, such as a food delivery or a taxi journey.

An employment tribunal recently found that drivers for the Uber car service get the minimum wage and paid holiday, dismissing the firm's claim that its drivers were self-employed.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Far too many people are now stuck in insecure jobs, with low pay and no voice at work.

"The Taylor review is an opportunity to bring the rules protecting workers into the 21st century, and to improve rights for millions of working people."

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said it was vital that the review engaged with unions, adding: "Increasingly, for more and more workers, the world of work is becoming more insecure and evermore precarious.

"In a matter of years we've gone from agency labour, where people scrabbled to get a day's work, to gig work, where workers have to chase after an hour's work."