Gig economy workers should have full access to industrial relations protections, according to a new report
A Senate committee report has proposed a new body to create policies that ensure a secure future for workers whose jobs are threatened by new technologies.
The ‘Future Work Commission’ was proposed following a senate inquiry which looked at the rise of automation and what the future will look like for gig economy workers.
According to the report, gig economy workers should be officially recognised under the law meaning that they have full access to industrial relations protections.
The inquiry had heard from platform operators whose position was to maintain workers' independent contracting status. However, the committee majority found the model was being abused.
Committee chairman Labor Senator Murray Watt said the evidence was “very strong” that it is an emerging loophole that’s being increasingly exploited by some employers and it’s also contributing to inequality.
"The gig economy isn't the first time we've seen some employers exploiting loopholes in pay and conditions, but digital platforms are a new form and if left unchecked could really see that level of exploitation increase. That's why we need to take action now."
Watt added that complacency is not an option for dealing with the immense changes in the workplace.
"The changes that are facing the Australian workplace and Australian workers are so great that sitting back and letting it all happen to us is a recipe for disaster.”
The committee’s report also recommends legislation requiring employers to consult more with unions and workers about the introduction of new technology.
Moreover, a recommendation called for an extension to workers' and trade unions' rights to collectively bargain.\