October 12, 2022

Reform in the Gig Economy

A report back from State Secretary Richard Olsen on a proud moment for gig workers in NSW, who have been fighting hard for their rights for years.

Yavuz, “My nephew Burak was a delivery rider for UberEats. In November 2020, our family suffered a great loss when he was killed while working”. Burak’s family were denied any compensation from Uber’s insurer because they claimed he wasn’t working at the time, but he was logged into the app and continued to receive order requests even after he had died.

Steve is from the gig industry and has gained years of experience as a food delivery rider. “We are loaded up with pressure to make as many deliveries in as short a time as possible. There’s no minimum rate of pay or basic rights when things go wrong. We can lose our jobs because an algorithm decides we’re too slow.” 

The TWU welcomes the commitment from NSW Labor to introduce workers’ compensation entitlements and minimum rates and conditions for gig economy workers if elected.

Labor leader Chris Minns has announced a lifesaving commitment to safe, fair minimum standards for gig workers in NSW. Transport is the deadliest industry in Australia – no worker should be in it without fair rights.

Labor’s commitment would see legislative protections extended to gig workers, who currently fall outside of the scope of legislation. These protections already exist for owner-drivers that ensure they have minimum rates and conditions, including protections against unfair dismissal. The commitment provides for the introduction of a scheme for gig workers for workers’ compensation similar to what NSW workers injured in workplaces currently receive.

It was many years ago that owner-driver protections for non-employee truck drivers and couriers in NSW were fought for and won by transport workers. The TWU believes that Chapter 6 – a mechanism in the Industrial Relations Act that provides safe, minimum standards for transport workers, should support every transport worker currently excluded from the rights enjoyed by employees.

When announcing the proposal Chris Minns, NSW Labor Leader, said, “Like many people, I was shocked in 2020 when five people lost their lives working in the gig economy and I think it was a wakeup call for many people to say what are we doing?”

When workers are deprived of rights and fair standards, it puts deadly pressure on them to rush and work longer and harder to make ends meet. In 2020, the impact of those pressures on delivery riders saw seven delivery riders die on our roads, five of them here in Sydney.

Those riders had no workers’ compensation at the time, leaving grieving families in the awful position of having to take on gig giants and fight for justice. Recently Uber settled two of those workers’ compensation cases with the families of Dede Fredy and Bijoy Paul

This commitment from NSW Labor will bring our industrial relations laws into the 21st century.


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