Chang­ing rules to pre­vent abuse

Big Rigs - - COLUMNS - RICHARD OLSEN TWU NSW State Sec­re­tary

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.

PHOTO: ALAS­DAIR YOUNG

OWNER-OP­ER­A­TOR: The TWU wants UberEats, De­liv­eroo and Foodora riders in­cluded in leg­is­la­tion pro­tect­ing owner-driv­ers.

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