Jobs, Economy and Environment

Bruske: Uber’s flex work proposal would continue to fail to protect gig workers

August 30, 2021

Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, released the following statement about Uber’s “Flexible Work” proposal:

“Nobody goes to work asking for more insecurity and vulnerability, but that’s what Uber is offering their workers. These workers are being asked by a giant multinational to give away their rights as employees, and that’s wrong.

“This raises the question of whose time is it, anyway? A driver may work many hours while logged on to the app. Does the company intend to pay workers for only a portion of these hours of work? That would be like an employer demanding their employees to come to work for 8 hours, but only paying for what the employer deemed productive or profitable work.

“Uber has dictated the terms of their workers’ employment, offloading costs like gas and car repairs onto its employees and isn’t even held accountable for providing basic employment standards, like a minimum wage and vacation pay.

“Meanwhile Canada’s laws exclude gig workers from unemployment benefits and even the protections of basic labour standards.

“This is what happens when policy makers ignore the voices of workers and listen instead to the companies and their advocates. These vulnerable, low-paid workers are only asking for the same rights and protections as other workers.

“Sadly, this mirrors the Conservatives’ campaign proposal, which gives giant app companies the freedom to keep exploiting our country’s most vulnerable workers.

“Canada’s unions will stand up for all workers and fight this every step of the way.

“The writing is on the wall. Courts in other jurisdictions, like California, have already called out companies like Uber. The company is now asking the Canadian government to pre-empt the courts, deny workers’ rights and set in stone the second-class status of gig workers. This is wrong.

“All workers should have workplace protections and benefits. We are demanding all parties work with us and give low-paid gig workers fair employment standards and real access to EI and CPP benefits.”

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