Precarious Work
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Precarious Work

The Challenge for Labour Law in Europe

Edited by Jeff Kenner, Izabela Florczak and Marta Otto

This discerning book provides a wide-ranging comparative analysis of the legal and social policy challenges posed by the spread of different forms of precarious work in Europe, with various social models in force and a growing ‘gig economy’ workforce. It not only considers the theoretical foundations of the concept of precarious work, but also offers invaluable insight into the potential methods of addressing this phenomenon through labour regulation and case law at EU and national level.
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Chapter 11: Uber drivers are workers: the expanding scope of the worker concept in the UKs gig economy

Jeff Kenner

Abstract

This chapter evaluates the importance of judicial decisions, most notably the London Uber case, in awarding intermediate 'worker' status to self-employed on-demand gig workers. The chapter addresses complex issues of precarity that remain even when workers have some modicum of employment protection. It assesses the impact of the gig economy on the UK's vibrant but precarious labour market, identifying problematic issues such as sham self-employment, pay, working hours, tax and social security. Analysis of the Uber case builds on the tribunals' broad protective approach to the law on worker status and availability for work. It draws insight from the parallel case before the EU Court of Justice on municipalities' regulatory powers over Uber. It concludes by comparing the protective common law approach in Uber, and subsequent cases, with proposals for legislative solutions that may reverse this trend, and offers suggestions for solutions that embed the courts' purposive approach.

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