האגודה הישראלית לחקר יחסי עבודה

מחקר, הוראה ומדיניות בתחום יחסי העבודה

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  • שרגא ברוש, יו"ר לשכת התאום לארגונים הכלכליים
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חיפוש מחקרים

Australia : Gig economy puts pressure on businesses to cut wages: Unions NSW

The gig economy has been blamed for putting pressure on fast food, retail, hospitality and transport services to cut costs, which is fuelling wage theft in those industries.

In an opinion piece

published in Fairfax Media on Thursday, Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey says Fairfax Media's revelations about Domino's, 7-Eleven, Caltex, Pizza Hut and other fast food and cafe businesses exposed how workers are being robbed of wages.

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Bicycle couriers 'underpaid'

Multimillion-dollar food delivery companies Deliveroo and foodora are accused of under-paying their delivery riders and failing to meet minimum employment conditions.

Wages have been "stolen" from employees who are expected to work many hours of unpaid overtime.

Mr Morey said the practice had threatened hard-won wage awards and conditions and has called for a Royal Commission into wage theft across the national economy.

The 'gig economy' boom is epitomised by the contractor workforces of companies such as Deliveroo.
The 'gig economy' boom is epitomised by the contractor workforces of companies such as Deliveroo. Photo: Jason South

He said companies like Domino's, 7-Eleven, Caltex and others face cut-throat competitive pressure from the "gig economy", which is based on people working as contractors or freelancers and being paid for each individual task or job they perform as opposed to a weekly wage.

Deliveroo and Foodora workers are often paid less than hourly award rates, with top-up frees if they make a delivery.

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"Exploitation and wage theft is rampant across the service sector," Mr Morey said. "The gig economy is making it worse, putting downward pressure on wages by shattering previously permanent jobs into one-off tasks.

"A royal commission would expose wrongdoing, but also provide constructive solutions for how we regulate and organise work.

Companies such as Domino's, 7-Eleven, Caltex and others face cut-throat competitive pressure, says Mr Morey.
Companies such as Domino's, 7-Eleven, Caltex and others face cut-throat competitive pressure, says Mr Morey. Photo: Paul Jones

"We know there is a strong correlation between labour abuses and informal employment. Exploitation of students and migrants often flourishes in the shadows."

Mr Morey has suggested the use of a national register of data from companies such as Airtasker, Foodora and Deliveroo to ensure award wages are being paid. 

The Good Guys last year announced they would enter into an agreement with Airtasker to use gig workers for installation workers who had no job security, no enforceable minimum wage, superannuation or occupational health and safety insurance.

Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey has called for a Royal Commission into wage theft across the national economy.
Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey has called for a Royal Commission into wage theft across the national economy. Photo: Supplied

"These new models smash the concept of a job into fragments," he says.

"They also drive down labour costs significantly. The individual contractor with the gig provider suffers, but so too does the worker with a permanent job at an established company."

A royal commission would expose wrongdoing, but also provide constructive solutions for how we regulate and organise work.

Mark Morey

Unions NSW has advocated for a new system of portable entitlements for workers in the gig economy to help maintain the workplace safety net of superannuation, leave entitlements and workplace injury insurance.

"Data-driven technology should not be an excuse to dismantle an industrial relations framework that has served our nation so well," Mr Morey says.

Original Source