‘Breakthrough moment’: Uber and Transport Workers’ Union strike agreement over gig workers’ rights

From SBS News, Tom Canetti reports that Uber and the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) have agreed to terms for delivery and rideshare platform workers. Tom writes:

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) and Uber have signed a statement of principles for greater worker protections for delivery and rideshare platform workers, including supporting industry-wide standards of a guaranteed minimum wage.

In a statement published on Tuesday, Uber and the TWU agreed to four principles based on setting a minimum wage, dispute resolution mechanisms, voices for workers and the enforcement of those standards.

TWU general secretary Michael Kaine on Wednesday said the deal represents a “massive day in Australian industrial history”.
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“This is a breakthrough moment that at its heart means food delivery riders and rideshare drivers will have safer, fairer working conditions and dispute procedures.

“That sets out a path for the future, and we hope it will bring some comfort to gig workers who have faced difficulty in the past, as well as the families of those tragically killed while carrying out this work that Australians have come to rely on.”

Mr Kain said it was the right step towards gig workers getting more protections.

“We’ve got to get past this divide in our legal system which says, if you’re an employee you get all the entitlements built up over decades. But if you’re an independent contractor, even if you’re highly reliant on the company that engages you, all of a sudden, you get none,” he said.

“This is a massive day in Australian industrial history.

“A gig giant has come to the table saying they want to be regulated because of the strength of transport workers. We will take this momentum forward to ensure workers receive enforceable protections.

“No gig worker should have to go to the High Court to fight for basic rights. That’s what our current outdated system forces them to do. This agreement with Uber is about modernising our system so workers have rights set and enforced by a tribunal.”

UberEats driver Ady welcomed the agreement.

“Driving a bike is considered the most dangerous form of transport,” he said.

“Enforceable rights doesn’t mean we can’t have flexible work. We can and should have both. This first step is great and we will keep fighting until we have sustainable and safe workplace protections.”

Rideshare and delivery drivers – including those on the Uber and UberEats platforms, altogether make up more than 100,000 workers in Australia.

Uber stated on its website that gig workers make a “significant contribution” to our economy and “deserve regulatory clarity”.

“Today, we have taken another step forward in this mission, with Uber and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) signing a Statement of Principles focused on providing a safety net for those working in the on-demand economy while protecting the flexibility that earners value,” Uber wrote on its website.

“This is the first time a platform company in Australia has struck a deal with a union across both the rideshare and food delivery industries and is the result of months of detailed discussions.”

Read the full story at ‘Breakthrough moment’: Uber and Transport Workers’ Union strike agreement over gig workers’ rights

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