Gig economy couriers should be entitled to a pension, says UK regulator

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The head of the UK pensions regulator has called on small economy businesses to recognize the employment rights of those who work for them and to implement occupational pensions.

Charles Counsell, chief executive of the Pensions Regulator, said the government-backed body was already working closely with Uber on a workplace program after a Supreme Court ruling found that private drivers in the carpooling group should be classified as workers, with rights. minimum hourly wage, vacation pay and a pension.

Currently, most couriers from companies operating in the odd-job economy, including Deliveroo and Uber’s food courier company, UberEats, as well as most Just Eat couriers in the UK, are classified as independent contractors with no key workplace benefits, including a pension.

After the Supreme Court ruling, Uber agreed that its 70,000 UK private drivers would be recognized as workers with minimum hourly wages and a pension.

“I’m going to call on other organizations in the odd-job economy to start recognizing that the people who work for them are workers and should be entitled to a pension,” Counsell told the regulator’s TPR Talks podcast.

“This is about helping people working in the economy to have a decent standard of living in retirement and I really encourage those working in the odd-job economy to take a stand and start placing their workers. in pensions. Let’s not deal with this on a case-by-case basis, ”he said.

Counsell’s position was supported by Stephen Timms, the MP who chairs Parliament’s special committee on work and pensions. Timms told the podcast that the influential committee will launch an investigation this fall into how to help those in the odd-job economy save for their retirement.

“I am happy that Uber is implementing this decision constructively [of the supreme court]Timms said. “Others like Deliveroo should do the same.”

He said construction workers would see “significant benefits” from a change in worker status.


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The GMB union said Counsell and Timms’ comments reflected an environment in which it was becoming increasingly difficult for companies like Deliveroo to deny their courier status.

Mick Rix, a national GMB official, said: “Pensions are important for all workers. The more people there are in a pension plan, the more comfortable and wealthy people will be in retirement. “

Alex Marshall, chairman of the odd-job economy union, the Self-Employed Union of Great Britain, said workers shouldn’t have to fight to make sure labor laws are enforced. “The Uber shutdown made it clear that these workers have their rights. It is a sector that thrives by exploiting the loopholes. The decision must be implemented immediately and applied throughout the odd-job economy, ”he said.

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