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Business Secretary could face vote of no confidence for failing to tackle gig-economy exploitation

IWGB union urges Labour MPs to propose the vote

BUSINESS Secretary Greg Clark could face a Commons vote of no confidence because his much-heralded reforms of workers’ rights failed to tackle widespread exploitation in the so-called “gig economy.”

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is urging Labour MPs to propose a vote of no confidence – and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey says the request “will curry much favour from Labour MPs.”

The IWGB move follows this week’s Court of Appeal decision rejecting a claim by cab firm Uber that the tens of thousands of drivers it employs are not “employees,” but self-employed contractors. The case was first taken up by general union GMB.

Uber refuses to accept the decisions of three courts, and continues to deny its employees’ rights, such as the national minimum wage.

The government pledged that in its review of workers’ rights it would take action to curb the exploitation practised by Uber and other gig-economy firms.

IWGB and other unions say the government’s reforms go nowhere near tackling the exploitation. The government rejected calls for stronger action against companies who flout the minimum wage – even on the rare occasions where companies have been prosecuted.

IWGB general secretary Jason Moyer-Lee said: “Despite the Business Secretary’s grandiose and self-congratulatory announcements this week, there is nothing in them [the reforms] that will sufficiently address the issue of exploitation of workers in the so-called ‘gig economy.’”

He said there was a need for a “real increase” in the rights of workers in the gig economy, and “a serious plan for enforcement of the law, and neither is on offer.”

Ms Long-Bailey said: “The Business Secretary has utterly failed to get to grips with exploitation in the so-called ‘gig economy.’

“Many companies are depriving workers of legal rights right, left and centre and the Business Secretary has not brought forward a serious plan on enforcement. 

“To add insult to injury he rejected recommendations to increase fines for companies who breach minimum wage. The IWGB’s request for a motion of no confidence will curry much favour from Labour MPs.”

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