On-demand, gig… or just plain exploitation and slavery?

On-demand, gig… or just plain exploitation and slavery?

The TWU is calling for the regulation of the ‘on-demand’ economy as Fair Work takes sham-contracting case against Foodora.

The Transport Workers’ Union is calling for urgent regulation of the on-demand economy after the Fair Work Ombudsman announced legal action against Foodora over sham-contracting of bike riders.

The TWU is already fighting sham-contracting at Foodora after taking several cases of unfair dismissal. A test case hearing will be held in Sydney on 3-4 July.

The union also criticised Foodora over leaked internal emails that showed the company was aware it was engaging in sham-contracting. A survey of riders has shown three out of every four riders are paid below minimum rates.

“We welcome the Fair Work Ombudsman’s legal action against Foodora, a company that has openly flouted the law by denying its workforce’s rights.

“But action must go broader than just one company and just a few riders. All workers deserve the rights and protections that generations have fought hard for.

“The on-demand economy is a tired example of old-fashioned exploitation with tech billionaires reaping the benefits at the community’s expense. The Federal Government is refusing to regulate rights for all workers, regardless of being alleged contractors,” said TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon.

“The sham-contracting comes as no surprise to the thousands of delivery riders who are working in the on-demand economy. Food delivery companies control all aspects of the work riders do, demanding they work shifts and penalising them if they don’t work where and when the companies want them to.

“The flexibility is all on the side of the companies with the riders bearing all of the risk. Riders have no superannuation, no guaranteed minimum rates and can work shifts for no pay at all. They can be sacked without warning and for spurious claims as the companies argue they have little or no rights. This area is crying out for regulation,” he added.

The TWU recently signed agreements with Coles and Airbnb to ensure fair and safe conditions for workers in the on-demand economy.

Riders have protested in Melbourne and Sydney in recent months over pay and conditions.

The rider survey also found:

  • Almost 50% of riders had either been injured on the job or knew someone who had.
  • Over 70% of riders said they should get entitlements such as sick leave.
  • 1 in 4 riders (26%) work full time hours (40+ hours per week).
  • 3 in 4 (76%) riders work 20 or more hours per week.
  • Over 26% work more than 40 hours a week.
  • The average age is just under 26 years.

 

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