Frank Field demands action on ‘rampant injustice’ in the gig economy

Companies resist reform by arguing tribunal findings relate only to individuals, says MP

The government should take action to end the “rampant injustice” facing some workers in the gig economy, according to a report by the independent MP Frank Field.

Field, who is chair of the work and pensions select committee, is calling for a fast-track system for employment tribunals involving worker status cases, as well as the introduction of a single labour market regulator.

The report says there is evidence some companies continue to exploit workers whom they had wrongly classified as independent contractors.

“Unions are caught up in court cases that are going on for seven years. The idea that the law is working is farcical,” Field said.

His report comes after Gary Smith, a heating engineer from Kent, last week lost a bid to claim £74,000 in holiday pay despite spending years to establish he was a “worker” entitled to such benefits in a case against Pimlico Plumbers which ended in the supreme court.

Field said employment tribunals should be given powers to fast-track worker status cases and recommend their findings are applied on a company-wide basis. In a string of recent cases, companies have avoided widespread reform, arguing that tribunal findings relate only to the individuals involved.

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