The threat of coronavirus is leaving gig economy workers "abandoned and penniless" says GMB

The threat of coronavirus is leaving gig economy workers "abandoned and penniless" says GMB.

The union claimed workers in the gig economy – or on zero hours contracts – who have to self-isolate due to the coronavirus are often left with no wages and little support from their employer.

The GMB highlight one recent case which saw a delivery driver contacted by a customer who considered themselves high risk.

The driver told the company who instructed her not to come back into work – meaning she would have no wages until she was given the all clear.

GMB stepped in and the company backed down - but they say more and more gig economy workers are suffering the same fate.

The first diagnosed case of coronavirus in London was confirmed on 13 February after a patient ‘self-presented’ themselves at Lewisham Hospital A&E using an Uber private hire vehicle.

The driver of the minicab was ‘temporarily suspended’ from working on the app.

According to the News Shopper a spokeswoman from Uber said at the time: "Out of an abundance of caution, we temporarily suspended the account of the driver who transported the individual to hospital, and we remain in close contact with Public Health England.“

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “The threat of Coronavirus is a huge problem for employers and worker across the UK.

“But workers in the so-called gig economy, or on zero hours contracts, are left abandoned and penniless if they have to self-isolate.

“Once again the bogus self-employment model is screwing over the disadvantaged.

“GMB is calling on all employers - regardless of the contract– to do the right thing and pay their workers if they have to take time off due to the global health crisis.”

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