COMMONS

Uber, Hermes and Deliveroo workers questioned on challenges of self-employment

06 February 2017

The Work and Pensions Committee hears on self-employment and the gig economy from the perspective of current and former Uber, Hermes and Deliveroo couriers and drivers, who are classed as self-employed, and from three disabled people who run their own companies.

Witnesses

Monday 6 February 2017, Wilson Room, Portcullis House

At 3.45pm

  • Graham Baines, Courier, Hermes
  • Steven Rowe, Private hire driver, Uber
  • Cain Jones, Courier, Deliveroo
  • David Dunn, Partner, Uber
  • Marc Ramsden, former Courier, Hermes
  • Peter Jamieson, former Courier, Hermes
  • Syed Khalil, Private hire driver, Uber
  • Jane Cordell, Director, Result CIC
  • Sara McKee, Founder and Market Innovation Director, Evermore Wellbeing 
  • Robert Winstanley, Entrepreneur

Inquiry background

Disabled people are more likely than most to be self-employed, and it may represent a route into work for disabled people, who experience much higher unemployment levels than non-disabled people (see the Committee’s recent report on the Disability employment gap).

Workers for many large courier and cab companies are classed as self-employed, despite often only working for one company. Their working conditions, involving very long hours and poor conditions, have been subject to extensive criticism.

Both groups of workers may experience benefits such as greater autonomy and flexibility in their working hours and practices, but this can come at a price. Self-employed people, whether running their own business or working "gigs" for other companies, do not have access to a series of employment benefits such as paid holiday or sick leave and employer pension contributions. This can leave them in a precarious and vulnerable position and one which the welfare system may afford them little protection against. More and more people are working this way and there has been growing criticism of worker protection in these business models, and concern about the extent to which a welfare and benefit system devised primarily for traditional work can adapt.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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