Uber is not “morally acceptable”, Labour’s shadow business secretary has said as a major review recommends that gig economy firms be allowed to pay less than the minimum wage in some circumstances.

Rebecca Long-Bailey rejected the proposal and revealed that she boycotts , the ride-hailing firm because of its business practices.

“I don’t personally use Uber because I don’t feel that it’s morally acceptable, but that’s not to say that they can’t reform their practices,” Long-Bailey said.

“I don’t like the way that they are exploiting their workers, and I think the recent case proved that in the courts; that suggested that the workers that were there were in fact workers, and they weren’t flexible workers, and they needed to be given the adequate amount of protection and rights that workers enjoy,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Long-Bailey spoke after it emerged that a major review, drawn up by a former adviser to Tony Blair and published on Tuesday, had recommended that firms such as Uber be allowed to pay a new category of worker – “dependent contractors” – less than the minimum wage when business is slow.

The review’s author, Matthew Taylor, said the lower rates could be offered if a firm could prove that, “on average, the average worker easily clears the minimum wage – in fact, gets 1.2 times the minimum wage”, as well as meeting other criteria.

He indicated that the idea was designed to avoid forcing firms into introducing shift working, which he said gig economy workers did not want.

“That’s a challenge because, if people can work whenever they want to, we could be in a situation where lots of people choose to work at times of low demand and that makes that business model impossible, which means those businesses would have to have shifts. And the people I spoke to were pretty clear they didn’t want shift work; they wanted to be able to choose when they worked,” he told Today.

Long-Bailey criticised the proposal, saying: “We don’t really need a new status … the court victories that we’ve had so far have proved that many of these so-called self-employed people that work for the likes of Uber, for example, are workers and should be given adequate protections.”

She added her concern that if implemented, the recommendations would “undermine” court rulings giving workers the right to the minimum wage, holiday and sickness pay.

Taylor explained that dependent contractors should be barred from making a claim against gig economy firms for failure to pay the minimum wage if the company could demonstrate the necessary rate was being paid on average, people could “genuinely choose whenever to work” and the firm was open with them about what they would earn at which times.

But Long-Bailey said that some gig economy firms were already “exploiting their workers”, adding: “If it looks like a job and it smells like a job, then it is a job and the worker should be employed.”

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