B.C. government report finds gig workers concerned about low earnings, job security
Gig workers enjoy the flexibility of their jobs, but have concerns about low and unpredictable earnings and the cost of fuel and vehicle maintenance, according to a report from the British Columbia government.
Workers also highlighted concerns about transparency of pay for assignments and being “deactivated” or terminated from a platform, the “What We Heard” report found.
“I love being a ride-hail driver, but I work long hours and have to deal with the wear and tear on my car,” said Kuljeet Singh, an Uber driver in the lower mainland. “I have family members to care for and I am not being compensated fairly for the time and effort I invest in my job. I hope the conditions for drivers like myself improve soon.”
The public engagement began in fall 2022 and included an online survey, as well as meetings and roundtable sessions with workers, platform companies, labour and business organizations, academics and researchers. The workers consulted included those who rely on ride-hailing or food-delivery jobs as their primary source of income, and those who use it to supplement their income.
“We recognize that British Columbians have embraced ride-hail and food-delivery services, but most people involved in the sector agree there is room for improvement,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “We are working together with workers, with platform companies and with others on solutions to improve working conditions and protections.”
Companies support improvements
Most platform companies indicated their support for improving working conditions, including guaranteed minimum earnings, as long as flexibility for workers is maintained, it said.
“Through our engagement, we learned there can be serious vulnerabilities for some app-based ride-hail and food-delivery workers,” said Janet Routledge, Parliamentary Secretary for Labour. “Gig workers, like everyone who works in our province, deserve to be treated fairly. That is the foundation of our effort to make work more reliable and less precarious.”
In recent years there has been significant growth of the gig economy where income is earned outside of a traditional employment relationship.
The Ministry of Labour invited people in British Columbia to share their thoughts on app-based ride-hailing and food-delivery work via an online survey from Nov. 23, 2022, until Jan. 6, 2023. A total of 1,470 people completed the survey.
More than 1,000 of the survey respondents were app-based ride-hailing or food-delivery workers. Roundtable discussions were held with workers in Abbotsford, Kamloops, Kelowna, Victoria, Nanaimo, Parksville, Prince George, Surrey, Richmond and Vancouver.
The full report is available here in PDF format.
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