Global technology platform DoorDash and the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) have signed a landmark agreement that sets out how Australia could ensure safety and fairness for gig workers.
Michael Kaine, National Secretary of TWU, was joined by Rebecca Burrows, General Manager, DoorDash Australia in inking the Statement of Principles to Ensure Safety and Fairness for Workers in the On-Demand Economy. The statement recognises the nature of gig work while agreeing to the need for enforceable industry-wide standards, set by an independent body. This is the first agreement of its kind between an Australian union and a delivery platform.
DoorDash and the TWU have agreed to the following six core principles:
- Workers should not be prohibited from accessing appropriate work rights and entitlements;
- Workers must have transparency;
- Workers must have the opportunity to contribute to a collective voice;
- Workers must have access to dispute resolution processes;
- Appropriate resources should be allocated to ensuring industry standards are established and maintained, and to driver education and training;
- Three stage approach towards achieving regulation of the on-demand transport industry.
The six core principles were developed between the union and DoorDash over several months, and builds on the success of their COVID-19 agreement which established core pandemic protections for workers.
“We believe that collaborating with DoorDash is an important step towards giving gig economy workers the rights and protections they deserve,” said Michael Kaine, National Secretary of the TWU.
“In collaboration, the union and DoorDash have shown that with proper negotiations and regulation, workers don’t have to choose between flexibility and appropriate work rights and entitlements. This is the first step in protecting all workers, regardless of the label applied to them.
“The future of work shouldn’t mean the loss of hard won rights, instead it should mean greater prosperity for all of us. A single worker shouldn’t have to go up against a gig giant via court in a hopelessly outdated system that sets them up to fail – we need new laws to secure rights for all workers and this agreement paves the way for delivering them.
“DoorDash understands this and we know they will not be the last gig company to see the logic of industry wide standards. Lifting standards and providing minimum rights throughout the industry is the best way to enable fair competition and market sustainability while ensuring gig work is safe, secure and sustainable for all workers.”
Rebecca Burrows said as more people are attracted to earning through platforms, the frameworks to support them need to evolve.
“Independent workers engaging with platforms like ours are making an immense contribution in our communities and to our economy. We’re always working to improve the experience they have with DoorDash, but we also have a role in advocating for their needs with stakeholders, policymakers and others in industry.
“Work through apps like DoorDash appeals to many people because it can fit around their lives and other commitments, but we need to ensure independent workers can rely on clear standards and protections and access more benefits, without sacrificing the autonomy and flexibility they value.
“We’re pleased to be working constructively with the TWU, and value the decades of experience they bring in advocating for Australian workers including independent contractors.
“We are optimistic that we can together develop a framework that gives workers the ability to choose the type of work that suits them, and continues to provide workers access to income when and how they choose, as well as the security of new benefits and protections they deserve.”