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High Court judgment in favour of gig economy worker protection

16 November 2020

Ruling in favour of the case brought by the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB), the High Court has confirmed the rights of gig economy workers to receive appropriate health and safety protection.

This follows an urgent judicial review on Friday, sought by the IWGB, which highlighted a discrepancy in the protection levels provided to its members.

Many of these are drivers of delivery vehicles, as well as couriers and taxi drivers, and the union said that its members were not receiving the same legal protection as employees.

According to the Financial Times, the ruling will have wide-ranging implications for thousands of workers, particularly those who have worked continuously throughout this year.

A high proportion of these are regarded as frontline workers and therefore at higher risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus.

The High Court ruling means that gig economy workers are entitled to the same EU health and safety rights as all other employees.

In cases where workers feel that levels of protection are insufficient, they are entitled to stop work and the law will remain the same after the UK completes its departure from the EU.

IWGB president Alex Marshall said: “This ruling is long overdue and the IWGB expects that in the light of this clear ruling, the UK government will now take urgent legislative measures to ensure workers’ safety.”

The ruling has also been acknowledged by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and it has stated that a formal response will be provided in the near future.

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