Changing the rules to prevent exploitation
IT IS time to change the rules. Old fashioned exploitation of transport workers is making a comeback in "modern” Australia through the use of technology.
Tech billionaires are driving this decline in Australia.
They have created a business model which pays them well, but, the cream they get rarely gets down to the workers who slog away for their minimal share.
Meanwhile our federal government encourages these tech billionaires to exploit our communities, saying, in the words of Workplace Minister Craig Laundy, the system "is working exactly as it was designed to function”.
Our involvement in many a fight has meant that protections, pay and conditions have become better over time for those in our industry.
There are still plenty of companies that keep moving the goal posts, finding new ways to make their income off the back of a transport worker.
We know that due to the changing face of work, more needs to be done to ensure all workers, regardless of technological advancements, are guaranteed workplace protections in Australia.
This is where Chapter Six of the Industrial Relations Act comes in. We have spent many years ensuring that this important piece of law in New South Wales remains protected and is working for owner-drivers.
The fight has not ended to ensure that those same protections are extended to other states.
Chapter 6 of the Act ensures independent contractors have the right to minimum rates and conditions, and access to the independent Industrial Relation Commission to resolve disputes, such as unfair dismissals.
We have taken the fight to government, starting at the NSW Labor state party conference which following a TWU motion, recently backed calls to give food delivery riders the same rights as truck drivers, such as minimum rates and the right to take complaints against employers.
The TWU motion called for inclusion in the legislation of "owner-drivers who carry bread, milk or cream and owner-drivers who deliver food to homes or other premises”.
We see a future which sees riders for Foodora, UberEats, Deliveroo and independent contractors such as bread and milk carters included in NSW legislation protecting owner drivers.
A separate motion calls on a federal Labor government to ensure job security, fair rates, superannuation and safe working conditions for all on-demand economy workers.
We are demanding that the rules be changed, because the future of workers needs not be determined by people designing an app but needs to be determined by the very workers themselves who provide value to our transport industry.
There should be no difference in the way a transport worker is treated on the job, whether they are delivering bread to a shop or dinner to a home.
We welcome an end to the antiquated exemption from Chapter 6 that currently applies to workers delivering bread, milk and cream, and we wholly support the extension of fair and legal treatment to hard-working food delivery riders.