A report into the gig economy released today by the Victorian Government reveals young workers are being pushed further into insecure work and are increasingly turning to the gig economy and working two or more jobs just to make ends meet.
The Young Workers Centre welcomes the report into the gig economy and 20 recommendations that will improve the lives of young workers in insecure work. These recommendations will mean that workers in the gig economy can be recognized as employees, which is a significant move. There is also a call for standalone streamline support and advice service which means that workers can easily resolve their issues and enforce their rights.
The inquiry's own research reveals gig economy workers - who are predominantly young, migrant workers on temporary visas - are being paid significantly below the national minimum wage and do not have safe working conditions. Young workers in the gig economy have gone without the protections that other working people in Victoria enjoy. We need to change laws to ensure gig economy workers receive fair pay and safe working conditions.
In its submission to the Victorian Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce, the YWC called for protections for young workers in the gig economy, including updating OHS laws to protect gig workers. The YWC's own independent survey of 240 gig economy delivery riders found three in four were earning below the minimum wage for transport workers, some as low as $6.67 an hour and up to 20% had been involved in an accident while at work.
The YWC has long advocated for intervention into the gig economy to ensure that all workers in Victoria are paid a living wage, are safe at work and have the ability to collectively organise and negotiate their working conditions.
It's important that the recommendations in this report are implemented by the Victorian Government so that all young workers are fairly paid, are safe, and can enforce their rights at work.
Quotes attributable to Director of Young Workers Centre Felicity Sowerbutts:
"This report confirms a picture of exploitation that young workers, particularly migrant workers on temporary visas, in the gig economy face. They are struggling with low pay, unpaid work and their work isn't covering their bills."
"The rise of gig economy work has meant too often young people are being exploited and are performing work without standard employment protections and are on wages that are below minimum wage."
"Our research has found that gig economy workers are being paid next to nothing with no guarantee of work and working in dangerous conditions, with no ability to organise and negotiate their working conditions collectively."
"We welcome this report and the recommendations made in it. It's essential young workers in the gig economy are given the protections they deserve."
Media contact: Kate Shuttleworth, Victorian Trades Hall Council communications lead, 0447 418 726 firstname.lastname@example.org