Hundreds of gig economy workers held a demonstration in London, calling for an end to precarious working conditions, better pay and for rights including sick pay and holidays.
The demonstrators, including Uber drivers, fast food workers, Deliveroo couriers and outsourced cleaners, marched from Transport for London headquarters in Blackfriars to the Royal Courts of Justice.
The march, organised by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), also went to the University of London’s Senate House where outsourced workers are striking to call for an end to outsourcing and then to the Doctors Laboratory, where NHS couriers are calling for a fair pay deal.
Credit: Zrinka Bralo Migrants Organise
It is believed that this is largest demonstration by precarious workers, and outside the Supreme Court IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, Communication Workers Union General Secretary Dave Ward and Frank Field MP spoke in support of Uber drivers and called for an end to exploitative conditions in the ‘gig economy’.
March Coincides with Uber Appeal Hearing
The march is timed to mark the beginning of Uber’s appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice against an Employment Tribunal ruling that its drivers should be paid living wage and not be treated as self-employed.
In October 2016, Uber drivers Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar won a landmark case for the rights of gig economy workers when an employment tribunal ruledthat Uber drivers are not self-employed and should be paid national living wage.
Uber drivers leading the #PrecariousDemo march as it arrives into Malet Street #Solidarity @IWGBunion @IWGBUoL @IWGB_CLB @United_PHD @jamesfarrar @MoyerLee @UVWunion @FastfoodRights @SOASJ4C pic.twitter.com/DfBoATSGlq
— Unite the Resistance (@resistunite) October 30, 2018
The employment tribunal decision opened up the possibility that Uber drivers in the UK would be entitled to sick pay and a pension, and the tribunal’s decision was seen as potentially impacting tens of thousands of people, wrongly classified as self-employed in the gig economy.
Uber appealed the decision, but the Employment Appeals Tribunal rejected the appeal in November 2017,
Uber’s final appeal against the employment decision is being heard at the Royal Courts of Justice today and tomorrow.
Growing Number of Strikes Around Employment Rights and Better Pay
Credit: GMB Scot
Last week around 8,000 council workers in Glasgow walked out for 48 hours calling for equal pay for women and for the resolution of a long running pay dispute
Primary schools, nurseries, and care services faced disruption following the walkout by members of the trade unions Unison and the GMB.
At the beginning of October staff at McDonald’s, JD Wetherspoon and TGI Fridays staged a walkout calling for an end to poverty wages and improved employment rights across towns and cities including Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, London, Newcastle, Plymouth and Southampton.
Earlier this month the IWGB organised a 24 hour strike by Uber drivers calling for better pay and conditions.
James Farrar, Chair of the United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch of IWGB and one of the men who brought the employment tribunal case against Uber, said: “After years of watching take home pay plummet, and with management bullying of workers on the rise, workers have been left with no choice but to take strike action.”