As we hear that Deliveroo couriers will pursue workers rights and to unionise Julia Kermode, CEO of The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA), whose members provide accountancy and umbrella services to 120,000 freelancers and contractors said: “It is no surprise to hear that Deliveroo drivers have been spurred on by the Uber verdict to pursue their rights. Employment status is complex and what is important is that employers need to carefully consider how they engage their workforce whether they are employed or genuinely self-employed. Employers should treat their workforces properly so that exploitation cannot happen and it is unacceptable that people should earn below the minimum wage – employers should not shirk their responsibilities to provide basic workers rights. The wages and commission structure does seem to result in very low pay – if the Deliveroo couriers and others like them received a fair income there would be no need for such a case to be brought.
“The Government has recently appointed Matthew Taylor to review non-standard employment practices and has also launched an inquiry into the future world of work all of which is a move in the right direction. However, one proposal being considered is whether the Government should restrict the use of agency workers by businesses, so it is important to respond so that we can avoid any misinformed policymaking. Last week I met with Jane Ellison MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and from our discussions it is very clear that Government is committed to stamping out false self-employment and ensuring that everyone who should have employment rights and protections does receive them in practice.
“Whilst there is commitment to supporting the important role of the flexible workforce, I am concerned that the current trend in Government policy appears to be a desire for professional contracting to become so cumbersome that it is eradicated in favour of permanent employment. This is certainly borne out by the IR35 changes that will be going ahead for the public sector in the coming months. It is frustrating that current media attention seems to imply that there is something wrong with self-employment, and that businesses should only employ permanent staff. It must be remembered that the vast majority of self-employed professionals choose to operate in this way and do not want or expect employment rights, nor do they feel exploited.”