Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

There was a seismic Court ruling in the news on Friday despite valiant attempts by the BBC to sideline the issue by keeping the general public distracted with inconsequential royal rubbish over formalizing the rift between ‘the family’ and the hollywood breakaway couple. This type of vacuous coverage I now refer to as ‘handifloss!’ Why? Like Candyfloss: puffed-up, but lacking real substance, sticky and sickly. In the London Economic Article entitled, “Time for Uber to accept its responsibilities’ – Union hails ‘historic’ ruling that drivers are workers,” Joe Mellor says, “Uber must now stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up its empire.” A union has hailed a ‘historic’ Supreme Court ruling that Uber drivers are workers.” These days there are so few victories for ordinary workers and the progressive Sosialist movement, but this ruling will prove truly historic as it throws a monkey wrench into the exploitative practices of today’s gig economy; this will have a wide reaching impact.

Mellor reports that, “Supreme Court justices ruled on the latest round of a long-running fight between Uber operating companies and drivers on Friday. Lawyers say the ruling means Uber drivers will be entitled to workers’ rights such as holiday pay, and will have implications for the gig economy. Uber operating companies, who said drivers were contractors not workers, appealed to the Supreme Court after losing three earlier rounds of the fight. But justices unanimously dismissed Uber’s appeal. A law firm enlisted by the GMB union to represent Uber drivers says drivers will be entitled to compensation for lost pay. A GMB spokesman said officials would now consult with Uber driver members over forthcoming compensation claims.” Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “This has been a gruelling four-year legal battle for our members, but it’s ended in a historic win.”

Mellor says that according to GMB, “The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of three previous courts, backing up what GMB has said all along; Uber drivers are workers and entitled to breaks, holiday pay and minimum wage. ‘Uber must now stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up its empire.’ An employment tribunal ruled in 2016 that Uber drivers were workers, and were entitled to workers’ rights. That ruling was upheld by an employment appeal tribunal, and by Court of Appeal judges. Lawyers representing Uber operating companies told Supreme Court justices that the employment tribunal ruling was wrong.” GBM Union Tweeted: “BREAKING: It’s the end of the road for Uber’s mistreatment of drivers. This landmark Supreme Court ruling puts all debates to bed. Time for Uber to accept its responsibilities, compensate drivers and discuss a way forward.”

Mellor reports that Uber had consistently claimed, “They said drivers did not ‘undertake to work’ for Uber but were ‘independent, third party contractors’. But lawyers representing drivers said the tribunal was entitled to conclude that drivers were working. Justices unanimously ruled against Uber. ‘It can be seen that the transportation service performed by drivers and offered to passengers through the Uber app is very tightly defined and controlled by Uber,’ said one Justice, Lord Leggatt, in Friday’s ruling. ‘The employment tribunal was, in my view, entitled to conclude that, by logging onto the Uber app in London, a claimant driver came within the definition of a ‘worker’ by entering into a contract. ‘I think it clear that the employment tribunal was entitled to find that the claimant drivers were ‘workers’.”

Mellor examines the, “UK gig economy and employment law,” saying that, “IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has responded to the Supreme Court Ruling today against Uber, saying the judgement shows the ‘glaring need for clarity’ in the gig economy and UK employment law. IPSE has said the very fact this case has come to the Supreme Court shows ‘UK employment law is not working’ and that to clear the confusion of the gig economy, government should introduce a statutory definition of self-employment. The Association has also argued that in the financial strain of the pandemic, the need for clarity and for those who are truly workers to get their fair rights ‘is more urgent than ever’.”

Mellor reported that, “Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE” had claimed that: “The very fact this case has come to the UK’s Supreme Court shows the UK’s employment law is not working. There is a glaring need for clarity in this area, to clear the confusion in the gig economy. The gig economy is enormously complex, including many people who are legitimately self-employed and many others who really, based on their working circumstances, should be classed as workers. It is a patchwork of grey areas between employment and self-employment: the only way to resolve this tangle is to clarify employment status in UK law. With the pandemic still raging and its financial impact ever more visible, it is more urgent than ever that struggling people who should technically be classed as workers get the rights they deserve. To bring this about, and protect the freedom of legitimately self-employed people, we urge government to write a definition of self-employment into law.”

On a CrowdJustice Post entitled, “Uber attacks right of workers to organise a data trust,” they elaborate on another aspect of the ongoing battle for worker justice from Uber. They write that, “On December 16, we are in court at the Amsterdam district court against Uber and Ola. Both companies are fiercely resisting their legal obligations to data access and algorithmic transparency. Uber and Ola are tied together by the large investment in both by Softbank. Both firms have obfuscated the proper fulfillment of access requests and wrongly attacked the motives of the 13 claimants. They say any question of personal data being accessed for the purposes of a data trust to boost the collective power of workers is an abuse of GDPR rights. We say this is quite wrong and that Uber and Ola must obey the law without further delay. We are somewhat taken aback by the strong attack on the idea of worker and trade union controlled data trusts.”

On CrowdJustuce they state that, “As such, there is a lot riding on this. If Uber and Ola are successful, the right of workers to organise a data trust could be suppressed. Your help is now more urgent than ever.” They lay out their case starting with, “Who we are?” The answer is, “The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) is UK registered trade union serving the needs of private hire drivers and couriers whose work is digitally mediated. Our members often work for companies like Uber, Deliveroo, Ola, Addison Lee, Bolt and FreeNow. We are proud to be members of the International Alliance of App based Transport Workers (IAATW) who are working with us on this important campaign. The action is supported by Worker Info Exchange, a non profit organisation dedicated.”

CrowdJustice elaborate on their case by saying, “We are launching legal action in the district court in Amsterdam over Uber’s failure to to respect the digital rights of drivers and couriers under the GDPR. Uber has illegally:
• blocked workers from accessing all of their personal data at work.
• failed to provide workers transparency to algorithmic management and control of drivers when requested to do so
Uber pretends not to be the boss so it can avoid employer obligations such as the minimum wage, holiday pay, sick pay as well as health, safety & equalities protections. We all know Uber manages by algorithm but we don’t know exactly how even though workers have the legal right to know.”

CrowdJustice explain, “We have evidence that Uber maintains secret driver and courier profiles which it uses to rate worker their performance with categories such as ‘late arrival/missed ETA’, ‘negative attitude’ or ‘inappropriate behaviour’. For years, we have worked with hundreds of drivers to make data requests but Uber always blocks the process and refuses to accept any collective approach. Now we are going to ask the courts to order Uber to provide drivers and couriers access to their data and to make algorithmic management transparent.” They insist that, “Digital rights are worker rights! Members of the ADCU won a landmark 2016 worker rights claim against Uber which the firm will appeal once more against us at the UK Supreme Court this week. But this hard won victory could be lost over time if we continue to allow Uber to flout the law to hide more and more management control in secret algorithms.”

But CrowdJustice point out that, “How can drivers challenge discrimination or unfair algorithms if everything is hidden from us? How drivers and couriers ever level the playing field to bargain for a better deal if Uber blocks our data requests so we can never establish our own worker’s data trust? In today’s world, digital rights are the gateway to worker rights.The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives everyone to access the personal data any organisation holds on them and the right to an explanation of how this data is processed in algorithms used by firms such as Uber. In practice, this means that drivers have the right to access all personal data which includes every trip, every fare, all GPS data, telematics and so on. Crucially, we also have the right to know how Uber algorithms manage us and we can challenge automated decision making.”

CrowdJustice outline their “Call to Action,” saying that, “There are two things you can do to help
1. Please donate as little or as much as you can to help us raise £20,000 to bring this action, future similar actions and to cover any potential adverse cost awards.
2. If you are an Uber driver or courier living anywhere in the UK or in the European Economic Area (EEA) please follow the link to register to join our collective action campaign. Give us your permission to make a data request to Uber on your behalf as part of a very large group of drivers in a joint action. Your data will eventually be sent only to you and not us. Our lawyer will liaise with Uber and monitor the process to ensure everyone is treated fairly and receives all the data and information they are legally entitled. If you do not, we will take action on behalf of the group by making another complaint to the court. There is no cost to drivers and couriers for this and we ask as many local driver groups and unions to join us and get involved in this campaign.”

CrowdJustice elaborate on their legal representation saying, “We are represented in this case by Anton Ekker of Ekker Advocatuur. Mr. Ekker is a renowned lawyer specialising in the field of data protection and personal privacy. He most recently won an important landmark victory in the landmark SyRI case against the Netherlands government.” They ask, “ Who else is involved? The ADCU is proud to be a member of the International Alliance of App based Transport Workers (IAATW) who are working with us on this important campaign. The action is supported by Worker Info Exchange, a non profit organisation dedicated to helping gig workers protect their digital rights at work. We thank you for your kindness, solidarity and support. Now more than ever, we must support one another and work together to bring fairness, respect to our common digital workplace.”

Back in December 2016,on the, Warwick Marxists and Thomas Soud triumphantly announced that, “Britain: Uber Drivers’ Victory Strikes Blow Against Gig Economy.” Soud reported of a much earlier time when, “In front of big square boxes, blinded by flashing lights and slowly dialing up to a new network known as the World Wide Web, a group of young, wide-eyed entrepreneurs had an idea. With the two-ton machines that currently lay crushing their desks, they could create a new version of capitalism: an economic ecology freed from the robber barons and satanic mills of old, where free, rational individuals, guided by the digital hand of the market, could be united to create new riches for themselves and all of society in the process. This was the silicon dream.”

Soud lamented that, “Nearly 30 years on from this initial daydreaming and we find that this new reality, for many, has become more of a nightmare. Rather than calibrating and equalizing the desires, preferences, and rationales of free human beings, the apps, internet, and computers at society’s fingertips have simply become yet another tool for the exploitation of the working class. Airbnb, Deliveroo, and Uber are but three of the new household names in this latest tech wave known as the ‘gig economy’.” Soud killed, “The myth of the micro-entrepreneur,” saying that, “In essence, this new digital ‘paradise’ is no different from the old satanic mills. Their meteoric rise is a graphic display of capitalism’s need to grind down workers’ rights, increase the working day, and lower workers’ wages, all in the name of profit. The move to ‘gigs,’ with an army of precariously employed workers, forced to compete in a race to the bottom for small scraps of work and pay has allowed the bourgeois vultures to achieve this historic task in new forms.”

Soud exposed how, “Rather than give people decent wages and conditions fit for human beings, the capitalists now skirt around the gains won through struggle by previous generations, claiming that they are not required to provide such luxuries to these gig workers. Uber, Deliveroo, etc., so we are told by the bosses, are apparently not companies, but ‘platforms.’ The workers in the gig economy, therefore, are in fact the entrepreneurs, ‘micro-capitalists’ controlling their own minibusinesses via the generosity of corporate multinationals. Yet what capitalist earns $7.50 per hour? What entrepreneur lacks all but the most measly amount of capital, so that all they can offer is a single cab ride? What business owner has no employees and must routinely work long past the point that all regulations prohibit, and (to add insult to injury) has all this decided by those who control their income?! Such conditions are not that of the boss, but the worker.”

According to Soud, “This is not the hard work of the Protestant Ethic, but blatant, brutal, and illegal exploitation. We do not see progress in such a system, but simply a rehashing of the same crimes that have haunted humanity since the inception of capitalism.” In what he describes as, “A blow to the bosses, workers have never taken such attacks lying down, and will not start to today simply because their bosses sit at a keyboard rather than in industrial factories.” Referring to the very beginning of the 2016 push-back targeting Uber, Soud reported, “Recently, on October 28, two brave Uber drivers, backed by the GMB union, said enough is enough, taking the international corporate giant to court and securing a monumental victory. No longer would the pretense of a self-employed micro-entrepreneur be allowed to be maintained; instead, the courts decided that they were employees, members of the working class, entitled to the same rights as all other workers in the UK.”

Soud reported that was when the Courts decided, “It was deemed that Uber must provide the minimum wage, holiday pay, and pensions, and stop trampling over workers’ rights. This decision immediately sent convulsive fits around the headquarters of the leading companies of the gig economy, since what applies to Uber will undoubtedly apply throughout all similar organizations. The legal requirements this precedent sets now place the profits and futures of these corporate monstrosities under existential threat; they will not, therefore, accept this setback lightly. Uber has already appealed the decision and sent out a pack of lies to all of its ‘partners’ (a.k.a. ’employees’) that this will only affect the two drivers concerned. It frames the debate as one of flexibility vs. bureaucracy. In reality, it is exploitation vs. decency.” Uber certainly didn’t give up without a fight, their huge profit margins were at stake and so it was worth splashing the cash to fund the first of several appeals anll of which they have now lost.

Those courageous drivers took a stand and they have finally been rewarded showing that, “Militancy pays.” Soud explained the formidable odds against them by noting, “Uber’s strength can appear overbearing, and the fight will not be easy. If these two drivers and others like them are to succeed, then the first task must be to work on unionizing and organizing those in the gig economy, starting with other Uber drivers. This is no easy task. But the inspiring strikes and victory by Deliveroo drivers recently shows that it can be done, that organization and militancy do pay. At the same time, it must be stressed that such struggle is the only genuine defense that workers have in the face of the aggressive rat race of modern day capitalist competition. Only by exerting the power and pressure of the organized working class and not relying upon the benevolence of the courts of the capitalist state, can concessions be won, guaranteed, and maintained.”

Describing the deliberate pattern of disrupting worker solidarity, Soud said, “In replacing relations between worker and worker with username and username, we see how technology designed to bring the whole world closer together is in fact used to isolate and divide the working class even further. Many in the gig economy may never see a fellow colleague in the entire time of their employment; indeed, they are instead placed in direct competition with each other, with the only winner being the corporation and its profits. The extremity of these conditions demonstrates the need to get organized. Failing to do so will only result in continued exploitation, as more and more malevolent routes are devised in order to exploit workers. On the other hand, successes and victories could cause shock waves throughout the gig economy and the labor movement as a whole, showing that if unions can take hold in this most precarious of industries, it can and must, happen everywhere.”

Soud appealed to readers, “End exploitation! End capitalism!” He said that, “Ultimately, however, even such industrial struggles cannot secure a decent, long-term future for ordinary men and women. The ruling class will strike back with a vengeance and seek to strip away all the hard-won gains of the past for the sake of their profits. If we desire a world without exploitation, without long working hours, low pay, and vicious attacks on our basic rights, then the only solution is to abolish the inherently exploitative capitalist system, to instead plan production on a socialist basis, for use rather than exchange, with democratic workers’ control of the workplace and the whole economy. Solidarity with Uber drivers! You have nothing to lose but your chains! There is a world to win!”

In the Labour List Article entitled, “The Uber ruling is a huge achievement. We can build a more secure future,” MP Andy McDonald described Friday’s Supreme Court ruling in favour of Uber drivers as, “a massive achievement that will benefit gig economy workers across the country, and it is thanks to years of hard work by the trade unions. For too long, the likes of Uber and Amazon have been getting away with gaming the system. They have tried to pretend that people who work for them aren’t, in fact, workers who are entitled to basic rights, including a fair wage, holiday and sick pay, safety and job security. This was always morally wrong; now the court has ruled it is also legally wrong. For the last ten years under successive Conservative governments, this mistreatment of workers who deliver vast profits for these companies has been allowed to go unchecked. On their watch, there has been an explosion of exploitative zero hours and insecure contracts.”

McDonald explains how, “To deny them these rights not only has a devastating impact on their lives and wellbeing, it also has a disastrous impact on wider society and is plain economic illiteracy.” He says of the Tories, “They simply cannot be trusted to rebuild a fairer and stronger society as we recover from the pandemic. If you want to know where improving conditions for people at work ranks on the list of Tory priorities, take their long-promised employment bill. It has been postponed indefinitely.” He claims that, the Tory, “Contract with the British people, that their hard work would enable them to get on in life and give them the dignity of being able to provide for themselves and their families, has been broken.” This is why noone should be taken in by the new set of Tory lies hinting an end to austerity, ’40 new Hospitals,’ the ‘Lev…up’ lie and ‘borrowed voes’ that stole our democracy in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. We must Strike, Protest, Challenge, Investigate and take the Tories to Court to win: Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!