Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Royal Mail's Gig Economy

Following on from this blog-post

At Parcelforce, around 25% of their 3000 drivers are owner-drivers, who are contracted on a self-employment basis. Owner-drivers who take a day off due to illness, but cannot find cover, are being told they must pay Parcelforce £250 per day missed.  Parcelforce’s self-employed couriers typically earn about £200 for a shift of 12 hours or more, meaning the added penalty can see them lose out on £450 a day if they are ill.

Parcelforce also requires that they undergo three days’ unpaid training. Parcelforce parent Royal Mail,  made a profit of £742m last year.

Frank Field MP, who chairs the House of Commons work and pensions committee, said: “It almost looks as though some companies are now engaged in a bidding war, to see who can slap the biggest penalty on workers who are sick. Again it goes to show how badly we need a national minimum level of decency to be enforced in the gig economy, alongside a national living wage, so that workers aren’t ripped off by the companies they work with.”

Matthew Taylor who chairs an independent review of employment status in the UK, warned last month that precarious employment terms were becoming an increasing cause for concern. “The fact that too many workers feel that they have no control and no voice contributes to the quantum of misery and anger in British society,” 

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