Today’s the day that an employment tribunal in London will decide whether Uber’s 40,000 licensed drivers are self-employed or “workers”. So far all the talk has been about sick-pay, holiday pay and the minimum wage. But “worker” (as in “personal service worker”) is a term recognised by the Pensions Regulator to mean an eligible or non-eligible jobholder – or at worst an entitled worker. All of these odd phrases carry pension rights and though the cost of those rights to Uber are at the moment a max of 1% of a band of earnings, the cost will treble within a couple of years as employer contributions nudge up.
Auto-enrolment for Uber’s 40,000 drivers?? – Uber employment tribunal: Ruling due in London https://t.co/cmxRHYeBp0
— Alistair McQueen (@HelloMcQueen) October 28, 2016
So today’s decision may not just be important for Uber, it may be important for Auto-Enrolment and for everyone associated with what’s known as the “gig-economy”.
The Ubers and the Deliveroos are the obvious employers but there are thousands of smaller organisations in Britain who trade without workers and avoid setting up a workplace pension scheme. Perhaps this chap in the park is ignoring Workie because he owns one!
IMO – we cannot have a comprehensive funded pension system that excludes millions from its scope. I am in favour of opt-outs and include the genuinely self-employed as people who opt-out of workplace pensions. But I don’t reckon those who drive for Uber or ride for Excel, City Sprint, Addison Lee, Courier or Deliveroo are opting-out of anything.
Most of these people don’t even know that they aren’t in a pension – anymore than a lot of people who’ve been auto-enrolled know that they are.
I fear for us
I know the lack of pensions literacy, it is frightening.
People do not know the cost of not being in a pension scheme -even a 1% AE scheme.
People do not know the cost of retiring – till it’s too late
We need people to be “in” or to take a conscious decision to get out.
Would I be prepared to pay another 10% on my Umber fare to make sure their drivers are treated fairly – too right I would.
I fear for a nation that decides it’s alright for those just getting by to be excluded from pensions and the other benefits those in the gig-economy miss out on. It does not smack of the welfare I was brought up to expect (and accept to pay for).
If we’ve got used to ultra-cheap cab fairs at the expense of basic employment rights then we need to get used to higher cab fares and more expensive (home-delivered) pizzas.
If that sounds harsh, then you imagine what it’s like relying on Uber for a living.
Since this blog was published this morning, the GMB has won its case and UBER drivers are one ride closer getting a workplace pensions. Not everyone agrees this will happen