The Transport Workers’ Union has welcomed the decision by the new NSW Labor leader to appoint Australia’s first ever shadow minister for the gig economy.
NSW ALP leader Jodi McKay today announced Daniel Mookhey MLC as shadow minister for the gig economy, finance and small business.
“The challenges posed by the gig economy to workers, existing businesses and the wider community are great and we are delighted that this is being recognized for the first time in Australia by the appointment of a shadow minister. This issue has been crying out for a dedicated role to formulate policy and reflect the realities of what is happening to those working in the industry. The Federal Government continues to ignore the plight of gig economy workers in Australia and instead chooses to side with billionaires in Silicon Valley. We congratulate Jodi McKay on her visionary approach to this and we look forward to working with her and Daniel Mookhey in the months ahead,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“We are delighted that owner drivers and other small businesses in road transport can expect oversight within the same shadow ministry, as the problems they face also require a specific focus given the high number of transport businesses in NSW which become insolvent and the high number of deaths and injuries on the roads from truck crashes. The team Jodi McKay has selected is vibrant and enthusiastic and will no doubt hold the NSW Government to account,” said TWU NSW Branch Secretary Richard Olsen.
“Exploitation is rife in the gig economy. The pay rideshare drivers and food delivery riders receive is well below minimum rates and they’ve had their rights stripped away, such as the right to challenge unfair sackings, to collectively bargain and to fair compensation when injured on the jobs. Meanwhile, taxis, restaurants and other businesses in Australia are being adversely impacted. We need a political voice in NSW which is tracking the changes and advocating for reform. We could have no better team to do this than Jodi McKay and Daniel Mookhey,” Olsen added.
Official data shows 296 people died in truck crashes in NSW in the last five years while ASIC data shows 143 transport businesses in NSW have become insolvent in just the last year.
A survey of over 1,100 rideshare drivers in Australia last October showed the average pay is just $16 per hour before fuel, insurance and other costs are taken out. One in 10 drivers has been physically assaulted while 6% have been sexually assaulted. Workers responding to the survey said they faced death threats from passengers towards them and their families, rape threats, sexual assault, being punched in the face, held at knifepoint, had their car windows broken, their cars stolen and have received racial abuse. Almost two-thirds of drivers have had false reports by passengers.
A survey of food delivery riders in Australia shows three out of every four are paid below minimum rates. Almost 50% of riders had either been injured on the job or knew someone who had. Three UberEats riders have been killed while working.
In May rideshare drivers in Australia took part in a day of global protest against Uber while food delivery riders delivered an invoice to Uber offices in Sydney for unpaid wages and superannuation.
In November, a former Foodora food delivery rider Josh Klooger supported by the TWU won an unfair dismissal case against the company, after he was sacked for speaking out about rates and conditions. Almost 1,700 riders have received back-pay totalling nearly $2.3 million after Foodora was forced to admit it was underpaying their wages and refusing them superannuation.