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Uber Technologies : British Uber driver win is promising, but gig workers still need basic rights

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This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site.

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Authors: Anna Triandafyllidou, Canada Research Excellence Chair in Migration and Integration, Ryerson University and Laura Lam, PhD student, Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University of Toronto

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom recently ruled that Uber drivers are employees of the company and not simply using its technology as self-employed contractors.

Nicholas Humblen, a Supreme Court justice, explained:

“Drivers are in a position of subordination and dependency to Uber, such that they have little to no ability to improve their economic position or professional or entrepreneurial skill.”

The ruling makes clear that platforms should be required to offer basic benefits for the people “collaborating” with them. This ruling can have an impact beyond those in the U.K.

But where does the decision leave migrant gig workers?

These implications were discussed in a study recently presented under the auspices of the CERC Migration program, focusing on newcomer migrants who work in the gig economy, notably on platforms like Uber, TaskRabbit or Amazon Flex, to name a few.

Lack of Canadian experience

In Canada, new migrants are over-represented in the gig economy compared to Canadian-born populations. The stories are familiar — a newcomer enters through Canada’s points-based immigration system, rich in education and experience. But without Canadian experience, it’s next to impossible to land a job that offers career opportunities in their area of expertise.

While studying for a Canadian diploma, completing professional qualifications’ exams or volunteering in their field to get local experience, many newcomers take jobs in the platform economy. Such jobs offer a necessary stepping stone and are seen as a better alternative to typical, low-income work in the service or manufacturing sectors.

The flexible nature of the work allows for a sense of control over one’s time and one’s finances — the more hours you work, the more you earn. But in time, they soon realize that there is no safety net for illness, income fluctuates unexpectedly with demand — you may drive for a whole day and earn just enough for your gas — and of course there are no career prospects. And yet newcomers feel platform work is worth it.

Why? Because the alternatives are even worse. Working for the low-skill service industry offers long hours, low pay, no flexibility, little security and no career prospects. The lack of meaningful alternatives facing newcomers can make platform work all the more attractive.

Not a lifelong job

Most newcomer workers who have spent a few years in the platform economy don’t believe the job is for life. To them, it’s only a means to an end. At the same time, the flexibility, freedom, and opportunity to generate extra cash can make platform work difficult to walk away from.

So where does the problem lie? From a short-term perspective, it’s the lack of a safety net for those who work in the platform economy. There are ongoing debates globally about whether platform workers should be treated as employees instead of independent contractors or even become unionized. None of these debates have yet resulted in a significant change, but there may be some hope on the horizon.

Changing the working conditions in platforms requires political will and regulations must apply to all platforms. It’s still a turbulent process – Foodora simply abandoned Canada when their workers made a move to unionize. And gig companies in California are taking advantage of the state’s Proposition 22 ruling to further exploit workers as contractors.

Increasingly precarious

Migrants who face labour market barriers are stepping into platform work that is growing increasingly precarious. The aftermath of COVID-19 has the potential to create a flood of gig workers, as data from Statistics Canada show an influx of gig employees during periods of economic recession. There are dire implications if gig companies end up absorbing the migrant workforce.

The longer term solution in Canada is to restructure the labour market and look at how we are matching qualified migrants to work. The work available to highly skilled newcomers doesn’t match their education and experience. Canada has to do more to help newcomers find decent work.

One interesting initiative under consideration involves reassessing competencies so that previous professional experience is more easily recognized in the labour market.

Another avenue to explore is educating employers on the skills possessed by newcomers and how they can be applied to the Canadian labour market. This should be easy in a country like Canada, where more than 20 per cent of the population was born abroad. Organizations like the Immigrant Employment Council of BC and the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council are doing this work. Their efforts must be supported and boosted significantly.

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The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Disclosure information is available on the original site. Read the original article:

https://theconversation.com/british-uber-driver-win-is-promising-but-gig-workers-still-need-basic-rights-155626

© 2021 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved., source Canadian Press DataFile

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Uber, Lyft drivers strike to win labor rights for US gig workers, Auto News, ET Auto

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Labor organizers want to roll back a 2020 California ballot measure that cemented gig workers as independent contractors after their drive firms mounted a $200-million campaign against a state law aimed at forcing them to treat workers as employees.
Labor organizers want to roll back a 2020 California ballot measure that cemented gig workers as independent contractors after their drive firms mounted a $200-million campaign against a state law aimed at forcing them to treat workers as employees.

Los Angeles: Drivers for Uber and Lyft have staged strikes in cities across the United States, urging Congress to grant gig workers the right to band together and push for better wages and working conditions.

Wednesday’s protests – from California to Maryland – reveal an increasingly fractious dispute over how gig workers should be regarded by law and what rights they deserve at work.

The question is under debate in Congress as lawmakers wrangle over whether the self-employed can bargain collectively as part of a wider Protect the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act).

“We want a seat at the table,” said driver Alvaro Bolainez, part of a 50-strong protest at Los Angeles airport.

Bolainez urged his fellow drivers to turn off their apps and lay down their keys, saying his pay was consistently and unilaterally cut by the rich ride-sharing companies he serves.

“It’s like a rollercoaster – one week I can make $1,000, the next I’ll make $400 working the same number of hours,” he said.

A spokesperson for Lyft said in an emailed statement that the company is “fighting to expand benefits and protections for drivers in a way that allows them to keep their independence. This is the type of forward-looking approach our drivers want.”

Uber referred questions to the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Coalition, a pro-industry group, which said most driver earnings were on the rise in California.

It also sent remarks from drivers who oppose the strike.

“I treat it like it’s a business and I drive smart,” said 65-year-old Jim Pyatt, a part-time driver in California. “I never make less than $35 an hour and I love the flexibility.”

But at the L.A. rally, drivers told a very different story – recalling days when earnings lagged the minimum wage, of idling roadside for hours or paying out of pocket for vehicle repairs.

Labor organizers want to roll back a 2020 California ballot measure that cemented gig workers as independent contractors after their drive firms mounted a $200-million campaign against a state law aimed at forcing them to treat workers as employees.

A Reuters calculation found the 2020 measure had saved Uber and Lyft $392 million each in costs such as payroll taxes and worker compensation.

“It created a second-class status for all app-based workers in California,” said Nicole Moore, a rally organizer who urged the Senate to pass the PRO act when it votes on a multi-trillion dollar spending package under negotiation.

The law would, among other measures, reclassify many independent contractors as employees for the purpose of collective bargaining, though not for wage laws and benefits.

Veena Dubal, an employment law professor and critic of gig company practice, said with debate fomenting over worker rights, the West Coast was a microcosm of a far bigger problem.

“Although the action is centered in California, it’s really workers over the country participating because they know California is the epicenter of the business model, but the companies are trying to export it elsewhere,” she said.

In recent months, gig firms have courted unions and state officials in an effort to cement their workers’ status as independent contractors in all U.S. states so as to cut costs.

Read more:

Under the proposal outlined in a regulatory filing with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the penalty would be reduced to $150,000, but Uber would pay $9 million to support a state victims’ fund and help create industry-wide safety and reporting standards.



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Gig workers rally in Fresno in support of Right to Organize Act

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FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Rallies were held across California earlier this week in support of the Right to Organize Act that is currently stalled in the State Legislature.

One of the demonstrations was held in downtown Fresno at city hall Wednesday afternoon.

A nationwide strike is underway among rideshare, and delivery drivers, including DoorDash and Uber Eats.

Organizers said they’re pushing for the right to organize and form a union to gain more benefits.

Proposition 22 was passed in November of last year, which made rideshare drivers and other gig-workers independent contractors.

However, rally participants said that’s not exactly how it works.

“Independent contractors don’t get treated like second-class workers. They’re not independent contractors if they don’t have the right to negotiate the terms of their contract,” said volunteer organizer Hashid Kasama.

A spokesperson for the Protect App-based Drivers and Services Coalition said that since Prop 22 passed Uber Driver’s earnings are up in California’s two largest markets.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.



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Micromax Next Product, In 2B Will Be Aimed at Gig Workers

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Micromax IN 2B

It seems that Micromax is gearing up to launch a new handset in India, as is evident by a teaser released by the company on Twitter, that reveals the launch date of July 30 for the same.

Going by the teaser released by Micromax, the upcoming handset will offer smooth performance, long battery life with the focus group being Gig workers. The teaser does not reveal the name of the handset, but we can expect it to be released as the Micromax IN 2B in India, as the device was spotted on Geekbench in June.

What do We Know About the Micromax In 2B,2C?

At that time, the benchmark listing had revealed the main specifications of the device ahead of the launch. This device will be succeeding the Micromax In 1B smartphone.

According to a report by The Mobile Indian earlier this week, Micromax seems to be planning to launch the Micromax In 2B in India by the end of July.

Now, the teaser of the arrival of the new handset on July 30th has further provided us with solidified proof of a new offering from the company. As mentioned earlier, the Micromax 1N 2B visited Geekbench last month. Benchmark details wise, the Micromax In 2B will come with a Unisoc T610 octa-core SoC. The device is also expected to opt for 4GB of RAM. Software-wise it should run Android 11 out of the box.

The Geekbench test revealed that the Micromax In 2B managed to score 350 points in the single-core test and 1204 points in the multicore test. To recall, the Micromax 1N 1B was launched by Micromax earlier in 2020 in November. The device opted for a 6.52-inch IPS LCD display with HD+ resolution and a 20:9 aspect ratio.

Performance-wise the handset was powered by the octa-core Helio G35 SoC. Optics wise the 1N 1B used a dual-camera setup with a 13MP primary sensor and a 2MP secondary camera. The phone used a massive 5000mAh battery with 10W charging.

The report also mentions that the company could release the Micromax In 2C in India next month, with a Geekbench listing confirming the same. The listing revealed that the In 2C could ship with an Unisoc T610 processor with 4GB of RAM. The phone could run Android 11 out of the box.



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