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Vic inquiry to examine the rights of gig workers

Victorian food delivery riders and those contracted to jobs online will be the focus of an inquiry following widespread claims of underpayment and poor treatment.

The Victorian government announced an investigation into the conditions of workers employed via digital platforms such as UberEats and Deliveroo.

The inquiry will be chaired by former Fair Work ombudsman Natalie James.

“Australia is crying out for an evidence-led, independent examination of the work arrangement in the gig and on-demand economies,” Ms James said.

Protests in Melbourne and Sydney this year have called for food delivery companies to stop exploitation and underpayment.

The NSW Labor opposition has pledged to revamp industrial relations laws if voted in at the next election, with leader Luke Foley saying he would give the Industrial Relations Commission the power to make orders of minimum wage and entitlements including sick leave, annual holidays and superannuation.

A Sydney food delivery rider told a protest in May his wages had dropped significantly over the two-and-a-half years he’d been riding for one of the major delivery companies.

The inquiry was announced shortly after the Senate recommended a plan to prepare the Australian workforce for the rise of non-standard employment – also known as the gig-economy.

The report recommended that gig economy workers should be reclassified as employees, rather than independent contractors, in order to afford them the rights and protections of Australian employment laws.

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