John McDonnell: We must stop 'Uberisation' of the workplace

A new network of banks should fund “co-operatively owned Ubers and Airbnbs” to take on the giants of the gig economy and stop the “Uberisation” of the workplace, the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has said.

McDonnell said a Labour government would provide incentives to co-operatively owned startups via a new national investment bank and a network of regional development banks.

He said the banks would have a remit to loan funds explicitly to co-operative enterprises, especially tech companies seeking to reduce the costs of transport, accommodation and culture for the average citizen.

In a speech to the Open 2017 conference at Goldsmiths, University of London, on Friday, McDonnell argued that companies such as Uber posed an “age-old threat” to workers’ rights.

He said Labour must tackle a pattern whereby employment contracts and benefits are replaced by insecure self-employment in the name of flexibility.

“The discussion of the challenges for the modern world of work posed by the so-called gig economy are nothing new,” he said. “They represent an age-old threat to diminish the hard-won workplace rights, terms and conditions offered by full-time employment.”

The shadow chancellor said old arguments on the importance of workers’ rights had to adapt to the “new world of work” created by technology.

“Rather than running away from innovation and technological advances, we need to see where we can use them to adapt to the challenges they may…

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