Judicial review finds against the Government on PPE for Gig workers

As part of a judicial review following a case brought by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), it has been ruled that the UK government failed to properly provide workers the protections given to them by EU directives on health and safety, including the right to be provided with PPE by the businesses they work for and the right to stop work in response to imminent and serious danger.

The IWB argued that insecure workers – including delivery, taxi and private hire drivers – have been shown to be at particularly high risk from coronavirus.

It was found that the Government failed to properly implement two EU directives by protecting only employees, concluding the EU’s use of the term ‘worker’ includes those who work without an employment contract. One directive set out measures to ensure the health and safety of workers at work; another sets out minimum requirements for PPE in the workplace.

This gap in the enforcement of legislation had existed since the directives were transposed into UK law in December 1992, but the IWGB said the pandemic gave the matter a “particular salience and significance”.

The ruling said the Government must now take steps to ensure gig economy workers have the same protection as employees.

The union said all gig economy workers would now be able exercise their rights to health and safety protection and PPE once the government takes the steps required under the ruling – including by taking legal action against employers that dismiss them for refusing to work in poor conditions.

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