May 23, 2023

Gig Workers: Survey unmasks the ‘flexibility’ myth

A major survey conducted by McKell, TWU, and TEACHO sheds light on the harsh reality faced by food delivery, rideshare, and AmazonFlex drivers. The survey, which included over 1,000 transport gig workers, reveals that the notion of ‘flexibility’ is merely an illusion. The key findings of the survey show low pay, job insecurity, and the absence of fair, safe and sustainable standards, highlighting the urgent need for transport reform. Click to access the Mckell survey report here

Low Pay and Job Insecurity

The survey uncovered a shocking truth:

  • 81% of respondents depend on gig work as their primary source of income, but are overwhelmingly struggling to make ends meet. Astonishingly, the more hours they work, the lower their hourly pay becomes.
  • Approximately 66% of full-time workers and at least 45% of all workers earn less than the minimum wage, potentially affecting over 100,000 gig workers in Australia. This alarming trend amounts to the equivalent of ongoing wage theft and undermines the livelihoods of hardworking individuals.

Safety Concerns and Work-Related Stress

Deadly pressure is affecting gig workers.

  • More than half of the respondents experience work-related stress, anxiety, and mental health issues.
  • 56% of food delivery riders said they’re pressured to rush and take risks on the road to earn enough money and avoid deactivation for being deemed too slow by the algorithm.

The Illusion of Flexibility

While flexibility is often cited as a major benefit of gig work, the survey revealed a different reality.

  • 54% of respondents prioritise fair pay and safe working conditions over flexible hours.
  • About 41% of workers are forced to work over 40 hours a week, and 69% feel compelled to work during peak hours to earn a sufficient income.


 I work 7 days a week and often above 70-80 hours a week, and I barely make enough money to live.


The Need for Transport Reform

The survey results speak loud and clear, with 95% of workers expressing support for regulation and the establishment of standards for transport gig work. Urgent transport reform is needed to ensure fair pay, safe working conditions, and improved job security for transport gig workers.

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