Big changes in the Gig Economy

We are all still reeling here at UCHQ with the news that Uber has lost its London license. The next General Election is imminent, with all three parties vowing to crack down on zero-hours contracts and unfair working practices for self-employed workers. (Let’s see if any of them actually mean it – probably not). But what does that mean if you’re a food delivery driver or driver, if they do, with good intent, try to make things fairer?

The reality is, it will probably be you who loses out.

Because, let’s face it, these big companies care about one thing above all others – their bottom line. And so, if any changes do come in that are going to cost them, someone will have to pay, and it won’t be coming out of their profit margins.

Back in the old days, when people had jobs for life, employee productivity was viewed as a variable thing. Because as we age, we have ups and downs, and employers who build long term relationships with their employees understand this. Younger workers are hyper efficient and ready to move mountains, but, as we age, we gain the benefit to a company of life and business experience, making us more valuable to them, even if our productivity decreases.

Employers provide workers with a cushion for times like this. You’ve been good and worked hard for us, so let us work with you to get you through it’ is the mantra. And it’s a sensible approach. Nobody fires on all cylinders, all of the time.

But employers also see the benefit of hiring freelance or gig economy workers. They are only paid during periods of productivity, and they are given no safety net when they aren’t.

If the government is going to help out gig workers during those times, they simply have to do more than they do with benefits such as unemployment and child support. It isn’t enough. So, they are turning to employers of gig economy workers, who don’t wish to dig into their profit margins, when they do not have that stable ongoing relationship with them, like they do with their permanent workforce.

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