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Uber inks new agreement to protect gig workers’ rights in Australia

Uber inks new agreement to protect gig workers’ rights in Australia

Following years of campaigns, legal battles, and negotiations, American ride share giant, Uber, has reportedly reached an agreement with an influential Australian union, called the Transport Workers Union, which is among the most vocal critics of Uber.

As per reports, the agreement will provide over 100,000 Uber food delivery agents and drivers with more protection. Both parties are supporting minimum standards for all workers of the gig economy along with their freedom to unionize.

As per reliable sources, Uber and the Union released a joint statement that they support the establishment of an independent framework by the Australian authorities to implement benchmarks across the sector.

Since Uber’s inception in 2009, the gig economy, that has been using interim independent contractors for doing short-term chores, has made great progress. It hailed praises and has been promoted as an easy-going way of earning money without being tied to a full-time job.

However, there has been a mounting backlash in the country about the hazards and conditions the gig employees face, especially after a surge in delivery driver deaths during the pandemic when the market spiked.

A 2020 survey conducted by the Transport Workers Union revealed that as much as 73% of food delivery drivers were anxious about being severely injured or killed at the workplace. Although these safety concerns are not just confined to Uber or Australia.

Estimations by Gig Workers Rising, a leading advocacy group, revealed that since 2017, over 50 drivers working for companies like Uber and Lyft have been killed on the job in the United States.

Last week, an Australian judiciary ruled that Xiaojun Chen, a gig worker who was killed while on duty in 2020, delivering food for Hungry Panda Food delivery service was not a contractor but an employee.

The slain worker’s family has been awarded compensation worth around AUD 830,000 (~USD 564,856), which is considered the first of its kind for an Australian gig worker.

Uber’s GM in Australia, Dom Taylor, agreed that the two sides might not be in harmony with each other but hoped that the settlement would surely work for the protection of workers.

The agreement came in light of Australia's election of a center-left government of labor held in May that has earlier backed the reforms to safeguard the rights of gig workers.

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Omkar Patwardhan

Omkar Patwardhan started his professional career in the hospitality industry. Having nurtured a deep-sated passion for words however, he found his way into content writing and now pens down articles for numerous websites, including News Origins, spanning the sectors of business, finance, and technology.