POLITICS

Using Uber Is 'Morally Unacceptable', Says Labour's Rebecca Long-Bailey

Theresa May to launch employment rights review.

11/07/2017 10:10 | Updated 11 July 2017
Leon Neal via Getty Images

Using Uber is not “morally acceptable” Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has said.

Her intervention on Tuesday came as the government-ordered review into the employment rights of workers in the gig economy was published.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, Long-Bailey said Uber was “exploiting their workers”.

“Well, I don’t personally use Uber because I don’t feel that it’s morally acceptable, but that’s not to say that they can’t reform their practices,” she said.

A spokesperson for Uber said “millions of people rely on Uber to get around and tens of thousands of drivers use our app to make money on their own terms”.

Theresa May will launch the report this morning with a speech billed as a reboot of her premiership following the general election.

The review, headed by Matthew Taylor, a former adviser to Tony Blair, recommended a new category of worker called a “dependent contractor”, and said there should be “genuine two-way flexibility”, giving workers additional protections.

The report by Taylor, the head of the Royal Society of Arts, said low-paid workers should not be “stuck” at the living wage minimum, or face insecurity.

is expected to promise that the Government will act “to ensure that the interests of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and those people working in the ‘gig’ economy are all properly protected”.

But she will insist that Britain must avoid “overbearing regulation”, retain flexibility in the labour market and remain “a home to innovation, new ideas and new business models”.

Unions and employment lawyers criticised the report, which has taken nine months to produce, for doing little to help the growing number of workers in delivery and taxi firms such as Deliveroo and Uber.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “I worry that many gig economy employers will be breathing a sigh of relief this morning.

“From what we’ve seen, this review is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity and exploitation at work. We’d welcome any nuggets of good news, but it doesn’t look like the report will shift the balance of power in the modern workplace.”

The Uber spokesperson added: “Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades before our app existed and with Uber they have more control. Drivers are totally free to choose if, when and where they drive with no shifts or minimum hours. In fact the main reason people say they sign up to drive with Uber is so they can be their own boss.

“Drivers using Uber made average fares of £15 per hour last year after our service fee and, even after costs, the average driver took home well over the National Living Wage. We’re also proud to have moved things on from this industry’s cash-in-hand past since every fare is electronically recorded, traceable and transparent.”

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