Latest report presents the first rounds of Fairwork ratings for the UK. These ratings evaluate the working conditions on eleven of the most popular digital labour platforms including Uber, Deliveroo or Just Eat.
The platform economy has found a fertile ground for growth in the UK, which has a relatively deregulated labour market, porous employment protections and weak collective representation rights. Although precise figures are difficult to come by, the ONS estimated that in 2017 at least 4.4% of the UK population, or about 2.8 million people, worked in the platform economy. The COVID-19 crisis is likely to have accelerated this growth trend, with lockdown measures pushing many people into online shopping and remote working.
This new report presents the first set of Fairwork ratings for the UK and establishes a baseline on the country’s platform economy that will be updated on a yearly basis. Eleven platforms in the ride-hailing, food delivery, courier and domestic services sectors were evaluated against the five principles of Fairwork and given a score out of ten.
The scores ranged from zero to eight, showing a large variability in the fairness of the work offered by digital platforms in the UK. Despite a few platforms achieving high scores, the majority of the platforms we evaluated failed to evidence that basic standards of fairness are met.
The Fairwork scoring process involves desk research, interviews with platform managers to gather insights into the platforms’ operation and business models, and interviews with workers to understand the process of work how it is carried out and managed.
- Fair Pay: Only two platforms, Pedal Me and Just Eat, could evidence that all workers are guaranteed earnings equal to or above the UK minimum wage. There continue to be many workers across the country that take home less than the hourly minimum wage. No platform guarantees that workers earn at least the local living wage after costs.
- Fair Conditions: Most platforms mitigate basic task-specific risks, though only five provide workers with an effective safety net.
- Fair Contracts: Five platforms were able to evidence that they provide clear and transparent terms and conditions. Only two platforms, Pedal Me and Just Eat, evidenced that their contracts do not exempt the platform from liability.
- Fair Management: Four platforms were able to evidence that they provide a fair system of due process for decisions affecting workers. But only two, Pedal Me and Deliveroo, could evidence that they provide equity in the management process.
- Fair Representation: Only one platform, Pedal Me, Only one platform – Pedal Me Only one platform – Pedal Me – committed to implementing a mechanism that facilitates the expression of workers’ collective voice.
Read the report
A more accessible version is also available for users with screen-readers.
The low scores of many popular platforms in the Fairwork UK league table clearly demonstrates the need for regulatory reform and enforcement to ensure gig workers are no longer falling through the cracks. By raising awareness of the conditions of gig workers in the UK and across the world, Fairwork aims to assist workers, consumers and regulators in making platforms accountable for their practices, and creating a world of fair platform work.
The Fairwork Pledge
As part of Fairwork’s commitment to making platforms accountable for their practices, we are launching the Fairwork Pledge. The pledge aims to encourage other organisations to support best labour practices, guided by the five principles of fair work.
Organisations like universities, schools, businesses, and charities who make use of platform labour can make a difference by supporting the best labour practices, guided by our five principles of fair work. Organisations have the option to sign up to the Pledge as an official Fairwork Supporter or an official Fairwork Partner. Those signing up to be a Supporter must demonstrate their support for fairer platform work publicly and provide their staff with appropriate resources to make informed decisions in their supply chains. Becoming a Fairwork Partner entails making a public commitment to implement changes in their own practices, such as committing to using better-rated platforms when there is a choice.
We are proud to announce the New Economics Foundation as our first official Fairwork Partner and the Good Business Charter as the first official Fairwork Supporter.