Gig economy: Just East offers couriers better terms

Steven Paston/Empics Entertainment

Food delivery company Just Eat has announced it will offer couriers pay by the hour rather than by per job in a boost to gig economy workers.

It said the move will mean its workers will earn at least the national minimum wage, increasing the security of their income.

Starting in London but with the rest of the UK to follow next year, Just Eat will also pay pension contributions, holiday pay, sick pay and maternity or paternity pay.

Just Eat managing director for the UK, Andrew Kenny, said: “We believe it is our responsibility to offer couriers a wide range of working options and benefits.

“From our experience in other European markets, we know many couriers value the benefits our new model offers and with the use of electric vehicles, this launch will also help us build a sustainable future for food delivery in the UK.”

The plan will create more than 1,000 jobs and will be a mixture of full-time, part-time, and zero hours contracts. Just Eat couriers will, however, be able to opt out of the new hourly-pay scheme and continue to work as independent contractors if they wish.

In August, the company’s parent Just Eat said it planned to stop using gig workers across Europe in favour of employees who get benefits and workplace protections.

Chief executive Jitse Groen said he did not like the fact that the people his company relies upon to make deliveries had tougher working conditions than employees, and that it was the company’s “intent not to have those in Europe”.

Groen said the company saw an increase in demand for its services after an initial fall when lockdown restrictions were introduced.

A case that is widely thought to shape legislation around worker status in the UK – Aslam and others v Uber BV and others – was heard at the Supreme Court in the summer, with a judgment anticpated soon. Uber drivers have been successful at every stage of the legal process in arguing that they are workers and not self-employed.

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