The TWU has welcomed NSW Labor’s commitment to introduce workers’ compensation entitlements and minimum rates and conditions for gig economy workers if elected.
Labor’s commitment would see that protections ensuring owner drivers have minimum rates and conditions, including protections against unfair dismissal, would extend to gig workers, who currently fall outside of the scope of the legislation.
It would also introduce a scheme for gig workers for workers’ compensation akin to what NSW workers injured in workplaces currently receive.
Outdated laws mean that currently, food delivery riders are denied basic entitlements like minimum rates of pay, sick and annual leave, superannuation and workers’ compensation. Without these rights, riders are under deadly pressure to rush and work long hours, both to make a decent living and avoid being terminated from apps if they fail to meet unrealistic deadlines.
The commitment comes as Uber settles workers’ compensation claims from the families of Dede Fredy and Bijoy Paul, who were among five food delivery workers killed while making deliveries in NSW in 2020.
NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said Labor’s commitment to introduce workers’ compensation for all gig workers would be a relief for families who have had to fight for support through archaic legal processes.
“All workers deserve workers’ compensation regardless of how they’re labelled. The families of Dede Fredy and Bijoy Paul should not have had to prolong their trauma by having to fight for proper compensation in court because laws and protections haven’t kept pace with the gig economy. Ensuring all workers have these entitlements would prevent more families from being forced to go through the same ordeal with no guarantee of outcome.”
Olsen said a critical point of Labor’s commitment was that they also addressed the underlying pressures leading to deaths of delivery riders.
“This is a proud moment for gig workers who have been fighting for years for minimum pay and conditions to ensure their safety at work. If adopted, it would mean gig workers receive fair rates of pay and the ability to dispute unfair dismissals, rather than being cruelly sacked by an algorithm without any appeals process if they’re not fast enough. This won’t just mean a fairer and more equitable system for gig workers – it will save lives on our roads.”
“This commitment would finally bring NSW’s industrial relations system into the 21stcentury and ensure no transport worker falls through the cracks, forced to work under deadly pressure.”
Following a transport roundtable ahead of the recent Jobs and Skills Summit, the Federal Government acted on a united industry push for reform and announced its intention to empower the Fair Work Commission to set enforceable standards for all transport workers, including gig workers.
Earlier this year, the TWU signed charters with gig giants Uber and DoorDash agreeing to a set of principles for food delivery and rideshare workers, including a regulatory body to set enforceable standards across the industry.