Connect with us

Companies

Feds must lead on gig economy reform

Published

on

The Commonwealth should take the lead on significant reforms to the gig economy to fix current deficiencies that disadvantage workers in the sector, a landmark two-year inquiry has found.

The Victorian government launched the inquiry into the on-demand workforce in September 2018, with former Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James appointed as chair. The inquiry was originally set to report late last year, but this was pushed back until the end of June.

Ms James has now tabled her report into the gig economy, a sector that has been found to be rife with uncertainty and instability for workers, who commonly lack bargaining power and the ability to access remedies.

UberEats
UberEats: Was the centre of a Fair Work Commission case over employee status as contractors

The inquiry hinged on the question of whether those working for gig economy companies such as Uber are independent contractors or employees. Most tech companies claim those working for them are independent contractors, meaning they don’t have to provide any of the benefits or protections provided by stable employment.

Ms James found this work status test to be the “root cause” of the current system’s failings, with attempts from workers to clarify the issues leading to “conflicting and caveated advice”.

The report outlined a series of “revisionist not revolutionary” recommendations focused on clarifying the worker status issue, a new agency to facilitate streamlined support and fast-tracked resolutions, and a code of conduct that enables greater collective bargaining for workers.

While this was a state initiated inquiry conducted over two years, the report concluded that the Commonwealth is best placed to lead the reform agenda to rectify shortcomings in the gig economy.

“It was the universal view of those participating in the inquiry that any change should be led nationally. Reforms confined to a single state risk creating yet more complexity and inconsistency and could impose an unnecessary regulatory burden on national businesses,” Ms James said in the report.

“The Commonwealth is therefore best placed to deliver genuine choice, fairness and certainty for workers and business. The inquiry suggests it should grasp this opportunity to deliver the recommendations set out in this report and make balanced and fit-for-purpose revisions to the current system.”

With the Coalition unlikely to warm to the reform recommendations, the report also outlines how the Victorian government could team up with other states and territories to move ahead without the feds.

The inquiry found six key reasons why reform is needed: the inherent uncertainty of the current work status test, the fragmented and limited nature of advice and support available to workers, inaccessible resolution pathways, the conduct of platforms, high incidences of “low-leveraged workers” working under “borderline” work status and inadequate protections for non-employees.

The federal government should amend the Fair Work Act to codify work status in relevant legislation rather than relying on the indistinct common law tests as currently happens, the inquiry found.

This could be done by adapting the “entrepreneurial worker” approach so that those undertaking work as part of another enterprise or business are “employees”, and autonomous “self-employed” small business workers are covered by commercial laws.

The law will also ensure that bargaining power must be considered when considering the work status test, and that the offering of safety protections and superannuation doesn’t act as a disincentive because this leads to a change in work status, the report said.

A standalone Streamlined Support Agency should also be launched to focus on the work status issue and provide an avenue for more effective support and access to fast-tracked resolutions on issues of whether someone is an employee or not.

This agency would have dedicated and sufficient resources, be accessible to and prioritising workers, and be able to escalate complex issues to a fast-tracked resolution agency.

This body would be able to issue authoritative and binding determinations, and the onus would be placed on the gig economy companies to seek a work status determination about their business structure, rather than on the workers.

If the Commonwealth doesn’t act on these recommendations, the Victorian government could go it alone and establish such an agency, in collaboration with other state and territory governments, Ms James said.

Fair Conduct Standards should also be written to ensure greater transparency and fairness around the operation of these tech companies and how their actions impact workers, the inquiry recommended.

These standards would include principles for genuine consultation, consideration of the leverage of certain companies, fair conditions and pay and worker representation.

This is another recommendation the Victorian government could drive if the Commonwealth rejects it.

The report also recommended more stringent laws to stamp out sham contracting, and significant regulatory investment to ensure compliance with the Fair Work Act as current remedies are “not effectively deterring parties characterising a relationship as independent contracting in order to avoid the operation of work laws”.

The Victorian and federal governments are yet to respond to the report.

The federal Coalition has previously warned against regulating the gig economy, saying this could stifle innovation.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email or Signal.

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Companies

Amazon looks for gig workers to pick up and deliver orders at Whole Foods

Published

on

By

Photo
Photo (c) Andrei Stanescu – Getty Images

With the gig economy continuing to grow but the COVID-19 pandemic cutting into wages, gig workers looking for work might want to pay Whole Foods a visit. Amazon is now recruiting contract workers to both shop for and deliver groceries for Whole Foods Market customers who order their groceries online.

According to a Bloomberg report, drivers can easily sign up for the Shop and Deliver program by simply reviewing an online tutorial about how Whole Foods products are picked, packed, and handled, as well as scoring a passing grade on a quiz.

Until now, Whole Foods relied on its own employees to assemble online orders, but the program model is akin to Amazon Flex, an initiative the company rolled out several years ago that relies on independent contractors to deliver packages. 

Inherent issues

From its catbird seat, various grocery industry watchers raised questions about Amazon’s move. 

“By entrusting gig workers to put orders together for Whole Foods customers, Amazon is potentially increasing the risk that items could be damaged, spoiled or delivered late that is inherent in grocery e-commerce,” GroceryDive’s Sam Silverstein wrote.

Another question raised was that while delivery service is an easy thing to learn, in-store tasks like picking aren’t.

“Delivery from A to B is a beautiful on-demand task because it’s very straightforward, very repeatable and you don’t need a lot of training, [but] tasks in stores are often much more complicated,” Jordan Berke, a former Walmart executive and e-commerce expert who runs Tomorrow Retail Consulting, told GroceryDive.

“A person that comes to your store once a day or once every two days to pick two orders is always learning, while a person that picks 50 orders five days a week” has a better opportunity to become familiar with the lay of the land inside a grocery store, and is more likely to know where items are located and how they should be handled.

Potential good news for consumers

Online grocery shopping is growing in leaps and bounds. The segment is expected to grow from about $38 million in 2018 to nearly $60 billion by 2023. Amazon and Walmart are in a pretty secure place for the moment — and keep upping the ante — but more and more companies are trying to elbow their way in like Uber and DoorDash. The upside for consumers is that companies are constantly trying to find ways to keep prices as low as possible. 

“They’re always going to look for ways to keep their cost of service as low as possible, and always look for ways to be super responsive in fulfilling customer demand,” Tom Furphy, former Amazon vice president of consumables and Amazon Fresh, told GroceryDive. 

“Those are three constants that will always exist as long as Amazon’s around, and they will absolutely look to deliver on that in the grocery environment.



Source link

Continue Reading

Companies

Iberdrola and GIG in 3.3GW offshore wind push in Japan

Published

on

By

Iberdrola has acquired local developer Acacia Renewables and entered into a joint venture with Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) to develop its 3.3GW offshore wind portfolio.

Prior to the acquisition, Acacia was Macquarie Capital’s Japanese renewable energy platform, according to its website.

Acacia’s portfolio includes two projects with a combined capacity of 1.2GW at a more advanced stage, and a further four with a combined capacity of 2.1GW.

Spanish energy giant Iberdrola and the GIG aim to enter the first 1.2GW batch of wind farms – located off the south-west coast of Japan – in upcoming auctions announced by the Japanese government.

These first two projects could be commissioned by 2028, Iberdrola claimed.

The company said it has set its sights on Japan as a “new growth platform” in renewables, and offshore wind in particularly.

Iberdrola has stakes in operational offshore wind farms worldwide with a combined capacity of just over 1GW, while GIG has backed operational offshore wind projects with a combined capacity of just under 1.3GW, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly

The two companies will both take charge of developing Acacia’s projects.

Acacia had issued public notices of Environmental Impact Assessments for the six sites. These are wind farms called Satsuma, Nanao Shika, Fukui Konpira, Shiroishi Kosugo, Fukui Konpira and Tono.

There is currently just over 40MW of operational wind power capacity installed in Japanese waters, according to Windpower Intelligence.

However, a growing number of developers are targeting the nascent market ahead of offshore wind tenders, which are expected to be opened shortly.

Last week, Equinor, Jera and J-Power joined a long list of partnerships targeting the Japanese offshore wind market, despite the nation’s apparent slow uptake of the technology.

In 2019, the Japan Wind Power Association said that the lengthy process for environmental impact assessment was having an impact on the development of offshore wind.

One of the main obstacles for wind developers in Japan comes from opposition from local fishing communities.

Source link

Continue Reading

Companies

In Season Of Strikes For Gig Workers, Now Swiggy Delivery Execs In Noida Rebel

Published

on

By

After strikes in Chennai and Hyderabad in the last 30 days, Swiggy’s delivery executives in Noida have gone on strike to protest against low wages

The delivery workers are demanding a minimum payout of INR 35 per order and restoration of monthly incentives, among other demands

Similar demands were also raised by Swiggy’s delivery partners in Hyderabad, who went on an indefinite strike last week

With similar demands as their counterparts in Chennai and Hyderabad, delivery executives with Indian foodtech unicorn Swiggy in Noida, on Thursday (September 17), went on a strike to protest against low wages. 

The strike comes just days after Swiggy’s delivery partners went on an indefinite strike in Hyderabad to protest against the low wages and to press their demands. 

In Noida, the protesting delivery workers are demanding a minimum payout per order of INR 35, a minimum payout of INR 20 per batched order (when the driver has to make more than one delivery in a single trip), and a payout at the rate of INR 10 per km after the worker has travelled more than 5 km for making a delivery, among other things.

The delivery partners in Noida, affiliated with the All India Gig Workers Union (AIGWU), have also demanded the reinstatement of monthly incentives of up to INR 3,000 for full-time work and INR 2,000 for part-time work. 

Further, the delivery partners are also demanding extra wages for deliveries made while it rains, or in nights, as also, compensation for waiting time at restaurants, while the order is being prepared. 

“Swiggy delivery workers are taking extraordinary risks by delivering food and essentials to people during this pandemic. The company cannot reward us by cutting our payouts and incentives. Our demands should be met at the earliest,” reads the letter stating the demands of AIGWU for Swiggy’s delivery workers, addressed to Swiggy’s CEO Sriharsha Majety. 

The demands of the delivery workers in Noida are similar to the demands of the workers in Hyderabad, who, earlier this week, launched an indefinite strike to protest against Swiggy paying low wages to the delivery workers. 

The workers in Hyderabad have alleged that during the lockdown, their minimum payout per order reduced from INR 35 to INR 15, while the company also removed monthly incentives to the tune of INR 5,000. 

When asked about the protest of delivery workers in Hyderabad earlier this week, a Swiggy spokesperson told Inc42, “Most delivery partners in Hyderabad make over INR 45 per order, with the highest performing partners making over INR 75 per order. This INR 15 is only one of the many components of the service fee.”

“Naturally, no active delivery partners in Hyderabad have made only INR 15 per order in the last four weeks. It is important to note that the service fee per order is based on multiple factors to adequately compensate our partners including distance travelled, waiting time, customer experience, shift completion and incentives. Regular competitive benchmarking shows that these are at par, if not higher than the industry standards,” Spokesperson added.

In what has been a season of strikes for gig workers, last month, Swiggy’s delivery executives in Chennai had gone on strike to press for their demands. A few days after the strike in Chennai, Swiggy told NDTV that the company had had a positive dialogue with the protesting delivery partners and was back to serving the entire city of Chennai with its fleet of workers.

Meanwhile, the Indian government’s new draft social security code is said to have recognised gig workers, and will mandate gig economy companies to contribute to a social security fund for gig and platform workers, reported Business Standard. Approved by the Union Cabinet last week, the code, which will have several other benefits outlined for gig workers, will come up in the Parliament’s ongoing monsoon session.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Gigger.news.