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« on: March 10, 2021, 07:47:51 pm »

Govt to review employment law in gig economy

Updated / Wednesday, 10 Mar 2021 10:34

By John Kilraine
Dublin Correspondent

The Government is to review employment law concerning workers in the so-called gig economy.

It follows a meeting between Tánaiste and Minister for Trade Leo Varadkar and Deliveroo riders who were accompanied by union representatives and groups representing immigrants.

Many of the riders are students from Brazil who do not qualify for self-employed work with their visas and so have to rent accounts from others.

They would like a more secure visa status and an extension to their permission to work.

Fiachra Ó Luain of the English Language Students' Union says that given the background of legal victories for workers in the gig economy in the Netherlands, Denmark and for Uber workers in Britain, the Government should be proactive in allowing Deliveroo workers to be described as employees rather than sub-contractors.

SIPTU is now representing the Deliveroo riders with divisional organiser Teresa Hannick saying that previously many had been reluctant to come forward.

Kevin de Aráujo Sánchez, one of the Deliveroo riders who spoke with Mr Varadkar, said he has to pay out €130 a week in overheads to work here - consisting of €60 to rent an account and €70 to rent a bike after his own got stolen.

He also complained that the minimum hourly rate for the riders has been reduced from €4.25 to €2.90 per order.

In a statement, Deliveroo said there had been a change in the payment structure but said most riders have increased their earnings as they now get more for medium and long-distance journeys.

The company said the 1,000 riders in Ireland earn above the minimum wage and around €13 an hour during mealtimes.

The company also that their business model has been upheld by the courts in Britain who have agreed that the riders are self-employed.

Mr Varadkar said after the meeting that he will be following up on the matters raised with the Minister for Justice and reviewing employment law in this area.

He said the Government had extended many benefits to the self-employed, but added: "I want to explore what else we can do and to protect the employment rights laws of platform workers. We need modern laws for the modern world."


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