Regulators like Transport for London has no control over minicab drivers’ working rights says the London Mayor. Sadiq Khan did however acknowledge the “urgent action” needed to improve working conditions, which includes driver pay, health and hours worked.
Drivers’ rights have long been a hot topic within the private hire industry, not just in London, but across the world. In the UK, Uber drivers represented by the GMB Union have scored multiple legal wins to be treated as workers by the ride-sharing company, but the legal appeals process continues. In January, the Court of Appeal in London rejected Uber’s appeal against two previous court rulings that their drivers work for them and are not self-employed, contractors or ‘business partners’. Uber will attempt a fourth appeal, this time at the Supreme Court. Caroline Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member, asked the London Mayor what exploration he has carried out since he highlighted the issue over two years ago. In Pidgeon’s question, she highlighted that Khan said in March 2017: “I am also exploring what more I can do to protect workers’ rights through the powers in my possession.” Khan responded by saying workers’ rights are not within the control of the regulators or licensing authorities. The Mayor did suggest more information could be provided to drivers to help make a more educated choice, when it came to selecting an operator based around their lifestyle and needs. Khan said: “The contractual arrangements between private hire drivers and who they choose to work for, including their pay and working conditions, is not within the control of licensing authorities, including Transport for London. However, I have been clear that I believe urgent action needs to be taken to improve working conditions, such as driver pay, health and hours worked. “In the absence of Government action to address this issue by making changes on a national scale, I have tasked my team at City Hall with exploring options for promoting good work in the various industries within the gig economy in London, including private hire. This could create more transparency for people and, in a private hire context, provide drivers with information on which operator is the best fit for their needs and lifestyle. At the same time, a scheme could incentivise private hire operators to improve conditions for their drivers, in order to remain competitive.”
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