New laws needed to protect gig economy workers

Dr Michael Koch from KBS responds to the news the government is to take a stronger stance enforcing worker rights for those employed in the 'gig economy'

‘This government initiative might be good news for gig economy workers, who are struggling to gain more rights and be treated as regular workers.

‘It is certainly right that the government takes a more active role to ensure gig economy workers are treated more fairly. Some of the promised measures will make work more expensive for organisations such as Uber or Deliveroo, but it is in the best interests of workers.

‘However, it is not entirely clear yet what exactly will be done, since the government has only announced to engage in consultations. It appears that this is more about the enforcement of already existing laws to make sure that the worst excesses of the gig economy are curbed.

New employment legislation, which will be required to improve a lot of gig economy workers significantly, is not necessarily on the horizon. It appears that the government is still reluctant to make substantial changes to address this sector’s problems.

‘Gig economy workers have been in the news quite frequently recently, and the public is increasingly aware of their plight. This, and the Taylor review of modern working practices have increased pressure on the government to act. The lack of workers’ rights and the complete absence of job security are increasingly seen as unacceptable.

‘Gig economy workers are very active themselves to improve their working conditions, but they need the help of the government. The next few months will show to what extent the government is prepared to make good on their promises.’

Colleagues who would like to engage with the media or learn more about media training or the University in the news should contact the Press Office on 3985 or pressoffice@kent.ac.uk