Uber, Deliveroo and Amazon contracts branded "gibberish" by MPs probing gig economy as ride-hailing firms promises to make agreements clearer

Lynsey Barber
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Frank Field is not impressed with gig economy contracts (Source: Getty)

Uber has promised to make its contracts with drivers clearer after they were branded "gibberish" by an influential group of MPs.

Frank Field, the chair of the work and pensions select committee, lashed out at the "unintelligible" contracts and "questionable" clauses used by Deliveroo, Amazon as well as Uber.

The companies are facing scrutiny in the MPs' inquiry into the gig economy.

Read more: Why everything you think you know about the gig economy might be wrong

Uber has now promised to review the wording of its contracts, which it admitted "would be better for both parties if if it was written in plainer, simpler English".

And Deliveroo has promised to remove a clause in its contract where workers promised not to challenge their self-employed status in court after it was revealed in evidence heard by the committee.

A similar clause was found in contracts with Uber and Amazon, though neither went as far as to prevent a court challenge.

Read more: Leader of major gig economy review wants clearer worker status

“Quite frankly the Uber contract is gibberish. They are well aware that many, if not most, of their drivers speak English as a second language – they recently lost a court case trying to escape TfL’s new English testing rules for private hire drivers – yet their contract is almost unintelligible," said Field.

"And it, like Deliveroo’s, contains this egregious clause about not challenging the official designation of 'self-employed', when the way they work looks in most ways an awful lot like being employed. These companies parade the 'flexibility' their model offers to drivers but it seems the only real flexibility is enjoyed by the companies themselves. It does seem a marvellous business model if you can get away with it."

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