Saturday, September 29, 2018
Friday, September 28, 2018
Thursday, September 27, 2018
Uber and courier firms including CitySprint are to be called to give evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into gig economy companies that have continued to deny workers employment rights despite tribunal rulings.
Frank Field MP, chair of the work and pensions committee, is to see if changes to legislation and enforcement are needed to ensure workers have their legal employment rights.
The new inquiry comes after a string of tribunal rulings against companies, including Uber, eCourier and CitySprint, which ruled that couriers and taxi drivers should be classified as workers and be entitled to holiday pay and the minimum wage. The companies failed to deliver those rights across their workforce, and argued that their drivers and riders were self-employed contractors.
“The inquiry will, I hope, shine a bright light on the extent to which justice is being evaded in the gig economy,” said Field, who resigned the Labour whip late August. “We will be looking to suggest any immediate changes that are required, both to the law itself as well as its enforcement, to ensure no company is able to evade justice.”
The inquiry launches as Uber continues to fight a 2016 tribunal ruling that said its drivers were workers and not self employed. The latest round is expected to be heard at the court of appeal late in October. Since the tribunal ruling Uber has offered some improved conditions for UK drivers, including limited insurance, limits on working hours and a 24-hour phone line for support.
Uber has repeatedly insisted that most of its drivers wanted to retain the flexibility to choose their own hours. However, the firm continues to face criticism over conditions. Couriers working for its Uber Eats takeaway delivery service this week protested outside the company’s London head office over a change in pay structure, which they said left them out of pocket.
In November 2017 CitySprint was accused of making a mockery of Britain’s employment rights system after changing couriers’ contracts rather than giving them the minimum wage and holiday pay, despite losing an employment tribunal case on the issue.
In May 2017, eCourier, a subsidiary of Royal Mail specialising in same-day deliveries, admitted it had incorrectly classified a London-based bicycle courier as an independent contractor and had wrongly denied him standard employment benefits. The company immediately announced a review into how it could implement the same worker status “for colleagues where it reflects their actual working arrangements with us”.
Ian Oliver, chief executive of eCourier, said: “We did carry out a review of our fleet of drivers and identified a group who we felt could be ‘workers’. Accordingly we changed their contracts to provide benefits such as holiday pay. They were also offered a workplace pension.”
But the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain said it was frustrated that there had been no sign of significant change. Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the union, which has been involved in a number of tribunal actions on workers’ status, said: “For a couple of years now we have been winning tribunal claims against courier and private hire companies. Yet despite this somehow these workers are still not getting the rights they’re entitled to. The enforcement system is clearly broken and this inquiry will shine a welcome spotlight on its abject failure.”
Field will be gathering evidence from individual workers, legal experts, enforcement specialists, trade unions and companies, with a view to publishing his findings alongside a series of recommendations before Christmas. The government’s director of labour market enforcement, Sir David Metcalf, will also be invited to contribute to the inquiry.
Source : The Guardian
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
London taxi drivers have commenced a JR of a court decision to allow Uber a licence.
The High Court action is based on a conflict, bias, apparent bias and flawed reasoning.
It seeks to quash the judgement which allowed Uber to operate for a further 15 months.
The action seeks a re-hearing with a newly constituted court.
It is the first part of a three-phase legal action which will include TfL and Uber.
Papers have been filed for a judicial review of the decision by Westminster Magistrate Court to give Uber permission to continue to operate despite the company admitting that it had repeatedly failed to conform to the law. The action is being bought by the United Cabbies Group (UCG) on behalf of the United Trade Action Group (UTAG).
It’s solicitors, Darren Roger of Chiltern Law, has instructed Robert Griffiths and Stuart Jessie if 6 Pump Court Chambers.
The claim which was filed Yesterday is based on the admission by the courts Chief Magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, that she was conflicted in the case. Last month The Guardian reported that her husband worked for one of Uber’s biggest investors. The revelation printed Ms Arbuthnot to rule herself out from future cases involving Uber.
“By admitting it was big enough to stop her hearing future cases, it shows that she had no right to sit in the case in which she gave Uber a green light” said Angie Clarkson of the United Trade Action Group.
The High Court action will challenge Ms Arbuthnot’s decision on the basis of actual and apparent bias. The claim will also look at the reasoning behind her decision to renew Uber’s licence for 15 months. It will argue that the extension resulted from unreasonable implausible and illogical reasoning.
It will also highlight how the judge made no finding that Uber was a “fit and proper person” according to the legislation. Despite this, she still granted the licence.
The claim is the start of a series of legal actions which will challenge Uber’s business model and commercial practices as well as the failure of TfL to effectively regulate them.
“The legal storm clouds are gathering over Uber. It’s reckless approach to the law is finally catching up with it” said Trevor Merralls of the United Cabbies Group.
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Lenny Etheridge.
A dozen or so tried and trusted proactive Taxi drivers attended a United trade meeting yesterday, all came away with big smiles and a positive spring in their step.
This is the big one, the one Taxi drivers on social media, around tea stalls, in greasy spoons and sat in cab shelters have been calling for and dreaming about.
Monday, September 24, 2018
The judge has also ordered TfL pay Westminster Council’s legal fees. They must agree a figure or pay £50,000 within 14 days of the order, which was made today.
Campaigner Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who was a named party in the judicial review proceedings, told the Ham&High: "Have TfL learned nothing – rather than reading and absorbing the comprehensive defeat from last week, reviewing their processes and learning from the judge’s criticisms, TfL just went for an appeal. How clear does the judge have to be about his decision?"
A TfL spokesperson called the judge’s decision "procedural". They said: "We can still apply to appeal at the Court of Appeal, and we remain in discussions with Westminster regarding payment of legal fees."
Source : http://www.hamhigh.co.uk