This country desperately needs minimum standards of employment to stop exploitation in the gig economy
• Frank Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead, is chair of the Commons work and pensions committee
The fightback against poverty wages and exploitation in the gig economy has, until now, taken place almost exclusively in the courts. But a new front is beginning to open up in the attack on these abysmal working practices. Throughout this war of attrition between David and Goliath, the legal system has helped to balance the scales between individual workers and the trade union movement, on one side, and some of the biggest companies in the gig economy, on the other.
In doing so, it has played a crucial role in extending basic forms of protection, such as the minimum wage, sick pay and holiday pay, to workers at companies such as Uber, Hermes and Pimlico Plumbers who had previously been denied any protection because of their “self-employed” status.