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MEDIA RELEASE: GIG ECONOMY WORKERS URGENTLY NEED FAIR PAY AND SECURE WORKING CONDITIONS

Research commissioned by the Victorian Government reveals that workers in the gig economy are predominantly young, 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 Young Workers Centre 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 Victorian Government research delivers similar findings, reporting that workers in the gig economy are predominantly being paid significantly below the national minimum wage, and earning below $10 an hour with 15.4% of respondents indicating their income was not even meeting their basic needs.

The Young Workers Centre welcomes the latest research, as it reiterates the need 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.

Other key findings in the survey commissioned by the Victorian Government:

  • Temporary migrant workers are three times more likely to work in gig economy work
  • Nearly half of respondents (45.5%) report their platform doesn't cover them for any type of work-related insurance (work-related injuries or professional indemnity)
  • Nearly 40% said their platform made them take out their own insurance
  • Another 20% of respondents did not know if their platform provided them with insurance or required them to take out their own
  • 30% of respondents did not know if their platform had a dispute resolution process


Quotes attributable to Director of Young Workers Centre Felicity Sowerbutts:

"It's essential young workers in the gig economy are given the protections they deserve. Our employment and occupational health and safety laws must be updated to protect gig economy workers from these unscrupulous employment practices."

"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."

"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."

"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."

ENDS

Media contact: Danielle Croci, dcroci@vthc.org.au

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