Creating an underclass of gig workers


The leaked NSW Cabinet proposal to create a cut-rate workers compensation scheme for gig economy workers threatens to create a permanent underclass of workers at very high risk for injury and death.

The government proposes three different options for benefits, each of which provide a level of benefits that falls well below the rates payable to all other workers under the existing Workers Compensation system.

Greens MP and Workers Rights spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"Each of these three options propose a system where gig workers are cheaper to employ, cheaper to injure and cheaper to kill than regular employees. That must not be the model we adopt in NSW.

"The Minister needs to commit to including in the discussion paper a fully costed option that will see gig workers have the same rights when injured as every other worker in NSW.

"If the business model for the food delivery industry requires the systematic exploitation of a vulnerable workforce, then the business model needs to change.

"If this means gig business and consumers have to pay slightly more for the convenience of having food delivered then that's what needs to happen.

"Food delivery work is dangerous, riders are dying and being injured on our roads far too frequently, this means they are even more in need of a fair compensation scheme, not less.

"These proposed changes would officially create two classes of workers and end up driving more employers to move to the cheaper "more flexible" gig economy arrangements.

"If any of these cut-price-compo options are adopted we will end up seeing even more workers being pushed into the gig economy with less pay and less protections," Mr Shoebridge said.

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