A cross-party group of more than 60 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion backing a campaign by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) against unfair terminations of key workers by Deliveroo and Uber. The union claims app-based couriers and private hire drivers are being dismissed by the automated processes of ‘gig economy’ companies like Deliveroo and Uber. Some of these workers whom have worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, are being stripped of their livelihoods, often with no evidence of wrongdoing on their part says the IWGB.
The Courier and Logistics branch of the IWGB has been running the #ClappedAndScrapped campaign to gather support for the Early Day Motion. The branch, along with the United Private Hired Drivers branch, is demanding due process with basic rights to a hearing, trade union representation and to appeal terminations. This call for a transparent terminations process is based on the advice laid out by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). It is claimed that neither company clearly outlines what actions or behaviours constitute a breach of agreement and what would be grounds for dismissal.
The Information Commission Office recently wrote to Deliveroo asking them to explain what information is used when they operate automated decision making. The IWGB say that to date the company has failed to provide any meaningful response and that couriers still have no idea what and when they could be fired for or how their data is being used.
Ian Byrne, MP for Liverpool West Derby, said: “Workers for apps like Deliveroo and Uber deserve due process and fairness. These already precarious workers have kept us moving during the pandemic, while ‘gig economy’ corporations that are valued in the billions have seen business boom while continuing to dehumanise them. We must hold these corporations to account and stand with key workers. I stand with IWGB’s three demands.”
Andrei Donisa, an Uber driver in London, said: "I've worked as a driver with Uber for several years. In October I found my account had been put on hold after a customer alleged that I was not the driver behind the wheel. I was wearing a facemask so I don’t know how they could’ve known anyway. Uber didn’t make any contact before stopping me from working for weeks. Being without income for this time was devastating for myself and my pregnant partner. This treatment is typical with companies like Uber. Drivers are treated like we are numbers rather than people. It's high time for all the app-based operators to introduce a fair process." Alex Marshall, IWGB President, said: “Wealthy corporations like Uber and Deliveroo have further dehumanised key workers during the pandemic. They’ll claim to hold workers up as heroes for their own positive PR, while they subject them to unfair dismissals. This process can see workers dismissed at the click of a button with no justification, and with no chance to appeal. We can’t let these workers be clapped and scrapped. They deserve to be treated as the frontline heroes that they are. A fair, transparent process should be the start of this.”