Gig economy

Amazon is quietly using the gig economy, and Royal Mail is furious

By Oliver Smith 19 May 2017
Summary

Do you know who's been delivering your parcels?

When you hear about the lack of workers’ rights in the gig economy, Uber and Deliveroo are probably the names that spring to mind.

But what about Amazon?

Amazon has been quietly using a delivery contractor called UK Express, which is taking advantage of gig economy loopholes.

UK Express claims its delivery drivers are self-employed and therefore not entitled to workers’ rights, but is facing a lawsuit from drivers who argue they should be classed as employees.

Amazon also has its own Flex delivery network which uses self-employed contractors to deliver Amazon parcels.

Royal Mail CEO Moya Greene.

Royally pissed-off

This morning Royal Mail’s CEO Moya Greene launched a furious verbal assault on her rivals for taking advantage of ‘self-employed’ drivers to undercut Royal Mail.

In a call after the postal group’s financial results yesterday Green called on the Government to look past what she called “fictitious self-employment” and investigate the lack of national insurance being paid by such companies.

“These employers are evading this tax, yet we end up giving our tax to the government so it can use the welfare system to top up the households of these workers with tax credits.”

“This is wrong.”

Getting a grip on the gig economy

While there are clearly huge issues with the gig economy, it’s unlikely anything will change anytime soon.

In November the Government launched the Taylor Review, led by the CEO of the Royal Society of Arts Matthew Taylor, into modern working practices.

The Review is expected to provide recommendations on the ‘workers’ rights’ aspect of the gig economy, whether they are self-employed or employees.

In reality, despite Greene’s call for the Government to take action, it’s unlikely anything will be done around tax before we’ve decided exactly what gig economy workers are.