James: What The Treatment Of Uber's Drivers Shows Us About Britain Now
12 October 2016, 12:59
In a compelling bit of analysis, James O'Brien links Uber drivers' fight for more rights with the polarised state of British political debate in 2016.
Tens of thousands of Uber drivers in the UK could qualify for holiday and sick pay, in what has been heralded as the employment law case of the year.
Uber claims its drivers are self-employed but James had one big riposte to that: "What if Uber tell you you can't work for them any more because the passenger ratings have been bad?
"If they can fire you, you're not self-employed. If they can fire you, you should get sick pay and holiday pay."
James then broadened out the discussion, saying the debate about how Uber treats its drivers is a reflection of the current state of British politics and employment law.
"This mood, that's abroad in the country at the moment, where any suggestion that we should be decent to each other gets shot down in flames straight away.
"Any suggestion...that we should be decent to our own doctors, that we should be helping - the argument always comes back to: 'My pension got decimated, why should public sector workers have a decent pension?'
"Not all employers are bad. But it seems to me to be the case that there's a move towards stripping away the protection from exploitation and poverty that post-war British consensus politics delivered.
"It seems to me that these things are being chipped away at, chipped away at."
The Uber drivers have taken the company to the tribunal with the help of the unions and as James pointed out, just look at what the papers say about unions every day.