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Defining the Industry Sector

Author: Lisa Jeeves
by Lisa Jeeves
Posted: May 30, 2017

In our ever-evolving world of transportation and courier work it has been deemed necessary to refresh the definition of our particular industry sector. The question that has arisen in recent years, and the one being tackled by The Taylor Review, is how do we legislate for employment practices in our world of new business models and customer demands? Given the growing the growing number of owner-driver operations and those engaging in ‘gig work’ the need for equal representation and an audible voice regarding this important matter is more important than ever.

The Taylor Review

The Taylor Review is being led by none other than Matthew Taylor of the RSA, with the goal of reviewing both future and past views of jobs in the UK in regards to the express sector. Taylor is seeking to hear from all participants within the industry including owner-driver entrepreneurs, lifestyle workers and those using social media and apps as a business model.

New forms of work, especially those driven by the latest interactive technologies, will be looked at to consider their implications regarding worker’s rights and responsibilities. It will also take a look at the existing regulatory framework surrounding hiring and whether employers’ freedoms and obligations will be affected. The Taylor Review is seeking to hear from the rising number of groups using business models that utilise independent workers for either short-term or temporary contracts, as well as the use of mobile phone apps and other platforms to engage in the worker market.

Points of Interest

The review will seek to cover 6 key areas of work within the express sector. Matthew Taylor and the Modern Employment Review Team have posed these questions to guide the feedback they receive from industry leaders, independent contractors and those now working within an owner-driver business model:

Security, pay and rights - To what extent do emerging business practices put pressure on the trade-off between flexible labour and benefits such as higher pay or greater work availability, so that workers lose out on all dimensions? To what extent does the growth in non-standard forms of employment undermine the reach of policies like the National Living Wage, maternity and paternity rights, pension’s auto-enrolment, sick pay, and holiday pay?

Progression and training - How can we facilitate and encourage professional development within the modern economy to the benefit of both employers and employees?

The balance of rights and responsibilities - Do current definitions of employment status need to be updated to reflect new forms of working created by emerging business models, such as on-demand platforms?

Representation - Could we learn lessons from alternative forms of representation around the world?

Opportunities for under-represented groups - How can we harness modern employment to create opportunities for groups currently underrepresented in the labour market (the elderly, those with disabilities or care responsibilities)?

New business models - How can the government – nationally or locally – support a diverse ecology of business models enhancing the choices available to investors, consumers and workers?"

Voices to be Heard

The IoC (The Institute of Couriers) designed a round table discussion group to gather opinion and points-of-view from their members. The conclusions of these discussions have been submitted to The Taylor Review and will prove a solid base of information for the panel to build upon. The chair of the IoC, Carl Lomas, has said that, "Our sector has mixed platforms of employment, operators often have PAYE and self-employed drivers, and some drivers work for more than one company; some drivers may even work in different status for different company. May 2nd Heads of Industry is about the views of the operators. From a recent IoC survey, the round-table and one-to-one interviews, the IoC will submit a response to the Taylor Review."

Professor Tracey Worth streamlined the discussion points for the round table discussion into 6 pertinent questions including:

  1. What do you think are the main reasons why your couriers choose their employment status?
  2. How do you deal with none profitable routes in a low density geographic, out of hours? Lifestyle?
  3. Why have you chosen mixed employment status for your fleet?
  4. How do you deal with an unprofitable job in the wrong direction?
  5. Is there favouritism in allocation of jobs in your driver fleet?
  6. 84% of operators surveyed agree there should be a code of conduct: what employment characteristics would you want to see in that code of conduct?

Watch this Space

The true outcome of The Taylor Review itself and the results of the IoC’s round table discussion will surely be of interest to those who have found themselves now playing pivotal roles in the industry but who did not approach it in a traditional manner. This is also the first time the importance of the independent worker; the owner-driver, and the short-term contract employee have been recognised for their growing influence within the sector. Will it change, restrict, or simply define our modern employment practices? We shall have to wait and see!

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day owner driver jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

About the Author

Writer and Online Marketing Manager in London.

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Author: Lisa Jeeves

Lisa Jeeves

Member since: Oct 18, 2013
Published articles: 4550

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