Uber and Transportation Workers Union Agree on Job Standards in the gig economy | industrial relations

Ride-sharing giant Uber and the Transport Workers Union have struck a historic deal on proposed employment standards and benefits ahead of expected new regulation of the Albanian government’s gig economy.

The union and Uber also agreed to jointly support the creation of a new independent government-funded regulatory body to create industry-wide standards for ride-sharing and food delivery workers after months of negotiations.

According to the agreed standards, the body will be responsible for creating minimum and transparent earnings, benefits and due conditions for the people working on the ride-sharing platform. The body will also act as a means to resolve disputes over the platform’s labor issues, such as when a worker’s account is deactivated.

The standards also establish that the rights of workers to join and be represented by a union will be respected.

“It’s a pretty remarkable document. It’s a remarkable set of principles,” Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine told Guardian Australia.

“It is something that identifies that we need changes, and there is a way to change, and we have a new federal government that has indicated that it wants to act in this area as well. So the stars are lining up for all of us.”

Uber Australia’s general manager Dominic Taylor said the new standards will still maintain flexibility for drivers and delivery people.

“[That] flexibility [is] because, we hear from our drivers, they come back time and time again. However, what we are announcing today is how to work towards a system that allows us to also overlay benefits that are more commonly associated with an employment contract, in the form of benefits, guarantees, safety nets,” he said.

Labor promised ahead of the May election to update the Fair Labor Act to account for the rise of the gig economy, including expanding the Fair Labor Commission to cover “employee-like” forms of work such as gig economy work, allowing set minimum standards.

Guardian Australia has previously reported on the difficulties drivers face when having their accounts deactivated as a result of false customer complaints. Lorna Berry, a Melbourne-based Uber driver, told a Senate inquiry last year that her account was disabled after someone reported her for being “violent” after informing customers about the mask requirement.

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She said that at the time there was no phone line to contact the company, meaning she had to deal with them via email. It took four or five days for her account to be reactivated. Since then, phone support has resumed.

Kaine said the new dispute mechanism should be designed so that workers have confidence that if they do the right thing, they will receive a decent pay, they will be taken care of when things go wrong, they will have access to an on-site health and safety system. of work and will not be terminated arbitrarily.

“All of this is a package and it all goes to the sustainability of the industry. As it will be at the end of the day, this is something for the future,” he said. “But the intention is that we build a sustainable system that has [an] set of industry-wide standards so we can achieve a level playing field.”

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Taylor said Uber wanted to see other ride-hailing and delivery companies participate and for the changes to be applied across the industry, but said it was important for Uber to take the lead.

“As a market leader in the online ride-sharing and food delivery industry, with over 100,000 drivers and delivery drivers making money from Uber every month, frankly, we need to take a leadership position,” he said. “That’s why we’re excited to work with [the TWU] to come to Canberra to share our vision of what it’s like to improve the quality of independent work in Australia.”

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