According to a recent report by the University of Oxford, Uber Eats and Bolt have been rated as some of the worst platforms in the gig economy to work for. The study assessed the platforms on whether they met the basic criteria of fair work, such as providing accessible contracts, ensuring that workers earn above the national minimum wage, and ensuring their safety. Both Uber Eats and Bolt scored zero, failing to meet any of the criteria.
The researchers expressed concern that some companies are cutting existing protections for workers to increase their profitability, and the current economic climate has made it even more challenging for workers in the gig economy. While the demand for food delivery and ride-hailing has declined, people need fair and decent work more than ever. “Our research demonstrates that most platforms are failing to ensure work that meets even basic criteria of fairness,” said Dr. Adam Badger, co-author of the Fairwork UK 2023 report.
The incident in February, in which a delivery driver collapsed while working for Deliveroo, sparked concerns about the lack of monitoring and safety measures for workers in the gig economy. According to James Farrar, general secretary of the App Drivers and Couriers Union, nobody from the company called to check on the driver’s well-being, even though the Deliveroo app kept alerting him to complete the delivery.
The Fairwork report evaluated various gig economy platforms, including Deliveroo, Amazon Flex, Bolt, Free Now, Getir, Gorillas, Just Eat, Pedal Me, Stuart, Task Rabbit, Uber, and Uber Eats. Pedal Me, the London-based electric bicycle company, and Turkish groceries service Getir were the only platforms that could prove their workers earned at least the minimum wage after costs.
Pedal Me topped the Fairwork rankings, followed by Getir and Stuart, which have both made changes to their policies and practices since last year’s rankings, according to Fairwork. The researchers also raised concerns about the increasing use of AI technology and algorithms to monitor, control, and discipline workers, and called for stronger rules to protect workers from companies using AI to make decisions about their lives.
While Uber and Deliveroo were the only platforms to recognize trade unions for collective bargaining on pay and consultation rights on health and safety, the researchers are calling for stronger protections for workers in the gig economy. Uber Eats and Bolt have been approached for comment on the report.