Majority of gig economy workers in the UK earn less than the minimum wage, states new report

A new report from the University of Bristol has found that more than half of gig economy workers in the UK earn below the minimum wage as the cost of living continues to rise. The study also found that 76% of respondents had experienced work-related anxiety or stress. More than a quarter felt that their health and safety was at risk, while a quarter felt distressed at work. The most desired improvements were for minimum wage, holiday and sick pay, and protection from unfair dismissal. Three-quarters of respondents believed that the introduction of trade unions and platform councils similar to works councils in Europe would bring immediate benefits.

Dr Alex Wood, senior lecturer in human resource management and the future of work at the University of Bristol Business School, stated that low pay in the gig economy is often associated with anxiety and stress for workers. He went on to say that workers in this sector are particularly vulnerable due to rising costs of fuel and housing, making better pay and protection essential. The report also found that jobs ranging from data entry to website design were picked by Fiverr and similar sites, with the other half consisting of local drivers who provide food delivery and taxi services via platforms such as Uber and Deliveroo.

Brendan Burchell, Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Cambridge and co-author of the report, stated that respondents supported the creation of a co-determination mechanism that would allow workers to influence decisions made by platform providers that impact employment and working conditions. This would include worker representative electoral bodies to approve all major platform changes. He also noted the potential for union growth in this sector.

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