As many as one in 10 working-age adults now work on gig economy platforms, up from one in 20 as recently as 2016.
The report warns that workers’ rights have failed to keep pace with the dismantling of the traditional nine-to-five working week for growing numbers of people.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said the explosion of the gig economy showed that working people ran the risk of battling to make ends meet. “The world of work is changing fast and working people don’t have the protection they need. Huge numbers are being forced to take on casual and insecure platform work – often on top of other jobs. But as we’ve seen with Uber too often these workers are denied their rights and are treated like disposable labour.”
Economists believe the jobs market has become increasingly precarious for some people, putting pressure on living standards. Poverty while in work has increased, alongside the the use of food banks.
In a sign of the intense pressure facing households across the UK, average wages after inflation remain below the level recorded before the financial crisis.
David Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England’s rate-setting monetary policy committee, said, “The fear of unemployment has picked up in the UK. People got scared senseless by what happened in the great recession. Real wages have been held down and people are concerned that their jobs will be replaced.”