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TWU SLAMS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TAX GRAB PLANS OF UNDERPAID GIG ECONOMY WORKERS


TWU MEDIA RELEASE, 23 January 2019
 
The TWU has slammed the Federal Government’s tax grab plans of on-demand economy workers, while ignoring their wealthy employers’ tax avoidance, wage theft, non-payment of superannuation and refusal to cover them while they are injured or sick.

The plans were revealed in a consultation paper today released by the Treasury which focuses on the “risk that sharing economy sellers may not be paying the right amount of tax”.
 
“We have heard nothing from the Federal Government on the widescale wage theft and non-payment of super by the likes of Uber, Deliveroo, and others. We have heard nothing in response to revelations of people being sexually and physically assaulted on the job and forced to go to work the next day to put food on the table. We have not seen any plans to regulate the on-demand economy to protect workers. Yet today we hear how the Government plans to catch these underpaid workers. That pretty much sums up how this Government views working people and whose side they are on,” said Tony Sheldon, TWU’s co-ordinator on the on-demand economy.
 
“These workers need rights to minimum pay, superannuation, sick leave, payment when they are forced off the job because of injury, and the right to challenge an unfair dismissal. They also need rights to collective bargaining so they can challenge these powerful multinationals which employ a legion of ex-political operatives to protect themselves against legislators requiring them to meet community standards,” he added.
 
Food delivery service Foodora left Australia last year, paying just $3 million towards an $8 million bill in unpaid wages and superannuation. The TWU along with rider Josh Klooger won a landmark case over his unfair dismissal while working for Foodora.
 
Surveys of ridershare drivers and food delivery riders reveals widespread underpayment and basic rights denied.
 
A survey of over 1,100 rideshare drivers across Australia shows the average pay is just $16 per hour before fuel, insurance and other costs are taken out. One in 10 drivers has been physically assaulted while 6% have been sexually assaulted.
 
Ridershare drivers have faced deaths threats towards them and their families, rape threats, sexual assault, being punched in the face, held at knifepoint, had their car windows broken, their cars stolen and have received racial abuse. They have been immediately deactivated from the ride-share apps when passengers leave wallets in their cars or when passengers make entirely false reports. Almost two-thirds of drivers have had false reports by passengers.
Hundreds of riders have protests in Sydney and Melbourne this year demanding rights.
 
A survey of food delivery riders shows three out of every four riders are paid below minimum rates.
 
The rider survey also found:
  • Almost 50% of riders had either been injured on the job or knew someone who had.
  • Over 70% of riders said they should get entitlements such as sick leave.

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