Delivery platform DoorDash and the Transport Workers’ Union have signed an agreement that sets out how Australia can ensure safety and fairness for contract or so-called gig workers.
The statement of principles recognises the nature of work in the on-demand economy as well as the need for enforceable industry-wide standards, set by an independent body.
It’s the first of its kind between an Australian union and a delivery platform.
“We believe that collaborating with DoorDash is an important step towards giving gig economy workers the rights and protections they deserve,” TWU National Security Michael Kaine said.
“The future of work shouldn’t mean the loss of hard-won rights, instead it should mean greater prosperity for all of us.
“A single worker shouldn’t have to go up against a gig giant via court in a hopelessly outdated system that sets them up to fail.”
The agreement includes six core principles including access to appropriate work rights and entitlements, a dispute resolution process, and appropriate resourcing for driver education and training.
DoorDash Australia General Manager Rebecca Burrows said as more people were attracted to earning through platforms, the frameworks to support them needed to evolve.
“Independent workers engaging with platforms like ours are making an immense contribution in our communities and to our economy,” she said.
“We’re always working to improve the experience they have with DoorDash, but we also have a role in advocating for their needs with stakeholders, policymakers and others in industry.
“Work through apps like DoorDash appeals to many people because it can fit around their lives and other commitments, but we need to ensure independent workers can rely on clear standards and protections and access more benefits, without sacrificing the autonomy and flexibility they value.”
The agreement was announced on the first day of the TWU national council meeting in Hobart on Tuesday which will focus on regulated standards, fairness and safety across the road and aviation sectors.
The meeting will make key decisions about rebuilding Australia’s aviation industry and reforms to tackle deadly conditions in road transport.
“Over the last 12 months, the Australian community has suffered the consequences of government inaction on transport supply chains and a national plan for aviation,” Mr Kaine said.
“We’ve had empty shelves in our supermarkets, major COVID outbreaks in essential transport workplaces, mass truck strikes as workers fought off attacks to their job security, and an Easter break ruined by extreme airport delays and lost luggage.”
Mr Kaine said Australia was also in the depths of a cost-of-living crisis in transport, with key players engaged in a race to the bottom at the expense of safety and service.
“We lose businesses that can’t compete with a workforce ripped off by minimum wages and conditions,” he said.
(Australian Associated Press)