The NSW Premier has no choice but to clean up the deadly gig economy, says the TWU as it demands the NSW Government implement in-full the recommendations of a landmark Parliamentary report setting out a roadmap to end gig exploitation.
The report – the outcome of the NSW Upper House’s Future of Work Inquiry chaired by Daniel Mookhey MLC – recommends the NSW Government establish a powerful new tribunal to set enforceable, fair standards for all workers in the gig economy regardless of their employment classification.
It highlights Federal Government’s failure to regulate the industry leaves States to do the heavy lifting, noting that a fairer industrial system must enshrine gig workers’ rights to collectively bargain, recognition of the role of unions, and mandate improved transparency around rates of pay and data collection.
It also recommends the NSW Government consider removing a legislative carve out which excludes ridershare drivers and food delivery riders from the State’s successful owner driver and couriers laws. A determination set under these laws in February this year drastically modernised rates of pay for couriers and provided minimum pay and rights to gig-style Amazon Flex drivers – a world-first.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine heralded the Inquiry’s recommendations for creating a powerful model to lift industry standards.
“The fact this Inquiry was held in the first place is a testament to the scores of gig workers across NSW prepared to call out gig behemoths’ shocking exploitation and abuse. Workers are ripped off, denied basic rights like workers compensation, loaded up with deadly pressure, terminated without notice, injured and killed all because our industrial system out-dated.
“If adopted, these recommendations would finally bring NSW’s industrial system into the 21st Century. A tribunal with strong powers to set enforceable standards would help end the insecure work crisis undercutting secure jobs by setting gig workers up with fair rates of pay and conditions regardless of their classification. In the absence of a Federal system with teeth, it’s a model that should be considered by all jurisdictions, particularly as States like Victoria and Queensland review how they will tackle these very issues.
“The NSW Government has an opportunity to right its shocking betrayal of gig workers last year when it outrageously sided with food delivery companies to blame riders for a spate of worker deaths. It’s time to end the carnage: the NSW Government must adopt this clear roadmap to end the bloodbath on our roads”.
“The reality is that the Federal Government’s let gig exploitation rip across Australia, standing down as these Silicon Valley giants trash our industrial relations system and undermine the standards Australians rely on for good, secure lives. It’s clear the only job Scott Morrison’s worried about securing is his own – and Australian workers are being hung out to dry in the process”, Kaine said.
The Inquiry received submissions from and heard countless stories of gig workers being abused, underpaid fair rates and seriously injured on the jobs, and failures to report the workplace deaths of gig workers.
The gig model of exploitation is built around companies deliberately placing workers outside industrial protections so they can be loaded up with unsafe work. This pressure to make as many deliveries as possible or risk being terminated by an algorithm incentivises risk taking and increases the likelihood of serious injury or death.
Food delivery riders and the TWU recently called on the NSW Coroner to commit to inquests into the deaths of five food delivery riders killed in NSW in 2020, following reports a formal investigation was under active consideration.
One of those deaths – that of Burak Dogan – was covered up and not reported as a workplace death by UberEats because the company maintained Dogan wasn’t working at the time; even though he was logged into the app and receiving orders when he was killed.