The TWU has congratulated four workers on winning rights in a New Zealand Uber driver case, but cautioned that the only way to ensure all transport gig workers have rights is through reform to set enforceable standards.
The judgment stated that, of the four Uber drivers who brought the case:
“Each of the plaintiff drivers was in an employment relationship when carrying out driving work for Uber and is entitled to a declaration of status accordingly.”
However, highlighting the need for regulation to provide rights to all transport gig workers rather than through individual court battles, the judgment also concluded:
“The Court does not have jurisdiction to make broader declarations of employment status to include, for example, all Uber drivers. It follows that there is no immediate legal impact in relation to other Uber drivers.”
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said:
“Congratulations to the gig workers in New Zealand’s FIRST Union and E Tu who bravely fought for rights to make their jobs safer and fairer.
“Workers shouldn’t be forced to take on multinational giants to prove they deserve the most basic of rights like minimum wage and sick leave.”
“Around the globe, legislation has lagged behind the gig tsunami, causing transport workers to be exploited, maimed and even killed.
“Workers need certainty. The Federal Government here in Australia has recognised the urgent need for regulation that can apply rights to all workers without the risk of being overturned. Without this lifesaving reform, workers are left at the mercy of judges attempting to apply archaic blackletter law to contracts with deliberately ambiguous wording.
“When the Fair Work Commission overturned an unfair sacking ruling of Deliveroo rider Diego Franco in light of a High Court decision, it said it was forced to “close its eyes” to the reality of his work. Clearly, it serves no one to go back and forth in the courts over what constitutes an employee or a contractor. All workers deserve rights.”
“We must move towards a system that guarantees fair, safe and sustainable standards for all workers regardless of their label to reflect the realities of the modern-day working world.”
The TWU has signed groundbreaking charters with Uber and DoorDash calling for industry-wide standards for food delivery riders and rideshare drivers.
In September, the Federal Government committed to expanding the Fair Work Commission to set enforceable standards in transport. Such reform would ensure transport gig workers, regardless of their label, would have rights.