Private Hire License Stamp

Make workers’ rights a condition for private hire licences

08 March 2017

Public safety is a risk due to the long hours worked by many private hire drivers.

The London Assembly is calling for zero tolerance of ‘sweated labour’ conditions in London’s licensed transport system. 

The Assembly today agreed a motion asking the Mayor to lobby government for powers to make workers’ rights a condition of all future private hire operator licenses.

 

Caroline Russell AM, who proposed the motion said:

“Workers’ rights have been hard won across generations of campaigners and activists and I’m pleased that they are not so easily rolled back as the Central London Employment Tribunal judged that Uber drivers are workers and are entitled to their employment rights.

The way people work is changing but that doesn’t mean they should lose basic rights, like a guaranteed minimum wage, holiday pay and occupational safety.

The ‘gig economy’ doesn’t work for people who need fulltime, steady employment and security.  It results instead in ‘sweated labour’.

We will not tolerate degraded working conditions that risk the health of workers and those who use their services.

Tired drivers shouldn’t feel that have no choice but to keep working to make ends meet and people using licensed transport should be able to have confidence that the driver isn’t overworked and risking their safety.”

 

Florence Eshalomi AM, who seconded the motion said:

“We should not accept anyone in our city working for less than minimum wage, receiving no holiday pay, and other basic employment rights. Not only are these working conditions morally indefensible, they can also cause a danger to the public. It is simply not safe for Uber drivers – or their passengers - to work such long hours without a break.

The government needs to urgently ensure workers’ rights are a condition of all future operating licensing.”

     

The full text of the Motion is:

“This Assembly notes the judgement[1] of the Central London Employment Tribunal that private hire drivers ‘employed’ by Uber are ‘workers’ and are therefore entitled to a guaranteed minimum wage, holiday pay, occupational safety and other basic employment rights.

This Assembly also notes the recent report ‘Sweated Labour: Uber and Gig Economy[2] in which Frank Field MP compares the working conditions of Transport for London (TfL) licensed Uber drivers to those of Victorian-era ‘sweated labour’.

This Assembly also notes the report’s recommendation that the Mayor should seek and the Department for Transport should grant the powers for TfL and all other local licensing authorities to make workers’ rights for licensed private hire drivers a condition of granting licenses to operators. 

This Assembly believes that ‘sweated labour’ conditions in the publicly-licensed transportation system are not only morally indefensible but also create an unacceptable public safety risk with many drivers working long hours to make ends meet.

This Assembly agrees that there must be zero tolerance of sweatshop conditions in London’s licensed transport system.  We therefore call on the Mayor to lobby government for powers to make workers’ rights a condition of all future operator licensing.”

Notes to editors

  1. Mr Y Aslam, Mr J Farrar and Others -V- Uber – Judgement [28 October 2016]
  2. Sweated Labour – Uber and the Gig Economy - Frank Field and Andrew Forsey, December 2016
  3. The motion was agreed by 16 votes for, to 1 vote against.
  4. Watch the full webcast.
  5. Caroline Russell AM, who proposed the motion, is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  6. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Alison Bell on 020 7983 4428.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.