Self-employed delivery, transport and data workers are earning less than the mandatory £10.42 per hour and endure job insecurity
More than half of British gig-economy workers have been earning less than the national minimum wage at a time when the cost of living in the UK continues to spiral, new research has revealed.
The gig economy is a large and growing section of the working population where short-term flexible workers are paid on the completion of tasks (known as gigs) instead of being paid for the amount of time that they work. The UK gig economy workforce was estimated at 7.25 million as of the end of 2022, with one in six adults in the country working a gig job at least once a week.
According to a study published on Thursday by the University of Bristol, 52% of gig workers, whose jobs included food delivery, private-hire driving and data entry, were on average earning £8.97 ($11.28) an hour. That’s about 15% below the current UK minimum wage, which rose to £10.42 ($13.10) this month.
More than three-quarters (76%) of survey respondents also reported experiencing work-related insecurity and anxiety.
“The findings highlight that working in the UK gig economy often entails low pay, anxiety and stress. As food, fuel and housing costs keep rising, this group of workers is especially vulnerable and needs to be more adequately remunerated and better protected,” the study’s lead author Alex Wood said.
READ MORE: UK food prices skyrocket – data
The report highlighted that more than a quarter of respondents felt they were risking their health or safety by engaging in gig-economy work, and a quarter reported experiencing pain as a result. In addition, 40% had fears they could lose their ability to make a living on their main digital platform and become unemployed in the next 12 months.
“The self-employed who are dependent on platforms to make a living are urgently in need of labor protections to shield them against the huge power asymmetries that exist in the sector. This clearly warrants the expansion of the current ‘worker’ status to protect them,” Wood stated. “Not only is the work low paid, but it is also extremely insecure and risky,” he concluded.
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May 14, 2023 at 03:54PM