gig economy

Isaac Nellist argues that the Fair Work Commission's ruling that a Deliveroo rider was unfairly dismissed is an important win for gig workers in their ongoing fight to be recognised as employees.

Dean Imperial as Ray, a worker just trying to get by in the sardonic gig-economy altern

Barry Healy reviews Lapsis, a sci-fi film in which gig economy workers are manipulated into competing with each other — and with robots — to make a living.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, food delivery companies’ profits were skyrocketing, as their “self-employed” workers are blocked from unionising, reports Taroa Zúñiga Silva.

A federal committee looking into insecure work has received submissions from a range of workers' organisations as well as the big gig corporations. Jim McIlroy and Markela Panegyres report. 

As COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out and lock downs and economic crisis measures wind up, the federal government is painting a rosy view of the economic recovery. But, as Neville Spencer argues, this is far from the reality for millions of casual and insecure workers.

The rapid growth of the gig economy has swelled the coffers of the international tech giants. Isaac Nellist reports on the growing push to end the exploitative business model which allows individuals to receive little pay while braving dangerous work conditions.

Vigil for delivery riders

The deaths of five food delivery riders in just two months prompted unions organise a vigil outside the Sydney HQ of Uber Eats, reports Jim McIlroy.

The federal government and employers are using the pandemic recession to further undermine job security and employment conditions. Graham Mathews argues that their “increased flexibility” is our growing insecurity.

"Old fashions please me best; I am not so nice To change true rules for odd inventions."

, The Taming of the Shrew, 1593.

On May 21 Australian Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt introduced a small but potentially significant private member's bill into the House of Representatives.

The Transport Workers’ Union joined the ACTU, Victorian Trades Hall and Unions NSW on January 31 to launch a campaign for the rights of food delivery riders.

The campaign called for urgent regulation of the industry after three quarters of food delivery riders are paid below the minimum award wage and have no sick leave.

Anyone who had the pleasure of hearing Jon Faine’s dismemberment of the gig economy, as represented by the hapless Brent Thomas, Head of Public Policy at Airbnb ANZ, last year will never forget it.  

It was excruciating. You could hear the air going out of poor old Brent when Faine pressed him on how much tax Airbnb actually pays in Australia, and pressed him and pressed him. 

As if it were wrapped in flammable polyethelene (PE) cladding, Uber’s seemingly unstoppable plan for world domination caught fire in London last month; and the blaze might be as hard to extinguish as the inferno that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in the same city in June.

The deadly fire at Grenfell, and Uber’s repeated failings — in terms of vehicle safety, sexual assault, regulatory avoidance and driver exploitation — are both the direct result of under-regulation and multi-layered regulatory and policy failure.

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating loved this quote of his long-time mentor former NSW Premier Jack Lang. I was reminded of its currency and utility recently, when I read that the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) had made an (overdue) entrance to the public debate about the costs and benefits of the emerging “gig” economy — let’s be honest, it’s mainly costs.

Shakespeare reckoned that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Old Will is right of course, because whether you call it rhubarb, a rhododendron or a rocking horse, a rose is a rose.

Sometimes though, if enough people use the new name of an old thing often enough, they can convince themselves and others that it is in fact a different thing. Then, having transformed the thing semantically, we can consider it a new thing, and treat it as a new thing. This is nothing new. It is marketing and corporate branding 101 and it does not matter most of the time.

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