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NDP Calls for Labour Protections Ahead of Uber’s Arrival


For Immediate Release

16 April, 2024


NDP Labour Critic, Jordan Brown (Labrador West), has written a letter calling on the government to be proactive and ensure gig economy workers, like Uber drivers, are not exploited as has been seen in other jurisdictions. In his letter Brown encourages the Minister to be proactive by looking to British Columbia where the provincial government is looking for solutions to address the poor working conditions in the gig economy.

 

“I am writing with regard to the recent decision by the Provincial Government to grant a ride-hailing service and license to Uber,” said Brown. “Unfortunately, we have seen ride-hailing and food-delivery companies in many other jurisdictions exploit legal loopholes to avoid paying a fair share to their employees.”

 

“You can be proactive and study the work conducted in British Columbia. There are lessons to be learned from the initiatives they are proposing,” Brown said. “Please consider meeting with labour unions and consulting with local app-based workers as a fundamental part of any attempt to bring in solutions, either through new programs or through changes to legislation.”

 

A full transcript of Brown’s letter follows below.

 

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For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or eddystcoeur@gov.nl.ca

 

Minister Bernard Davis

Department of Environment and Climate Change

PO Box 8700

St John’s, NL

A1B 4J6


 April 16th, 2024

 Minister Davis,              

I am writing with regard to the recent decision by the Provincial Government to grant a ride-hailing service licence to Uber. I would like to take this opportunity to ask you, as Minister responsible for Labour, to ensure that all ride-hailing and food-delivery app companies comply with existing protections enshrined in law. I also ask that your Department ensure that drivers are covered by labour protections.

 

It is the responsibility of government to ensure that all workers are treated with respect and fairness. Unfortunately, we have seen ride-hailing and food-delivery companies in many other jurisdictions exploit legal loopholes to avoid paying a fair share to their employees. Companies such as Uber misclassify drivers as “independent contractors,” which bars employees from accessing basic protections such as the right to unionize, the right to a minimum wage, the right to access Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan, or the right to obtain Workers’ Compensation in the case of an injury on the job. When private companies do not meet their responsibilities to workers, the financial cost ultimately falls on the government, in the form of higher health care spending, economic costs and lost tax revenue due to sick leave, and greater demand for social services.

 

However, other jurisdictions are taking steps to curb the irresponsible behaviour of such companies. In British Columbia, for example, the government is reviewing the status of drivers for app-based services and coming up with solutions that would address poor working conditions. You can be proactive and study the work conducted in British Columbia. There are lessons to be learned from the initiatives they are proposing. Please consider meeting with labour unions and consulting with local app-based workers as a fundamental part of any attempt to bring in solutions, either through new programs or through changes to legislation.

 

Regards,       

 

Jordan Brown

MHA for Labrador West 


NR 16042024 NDP Calls for Labour Protections Ahead of Uber's Arrival
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