Gig economy workers deserve fair wages and safe working conditions

Illawarra-based gig economy workers are entitled to fair treatment in the gig economy and this includes the correct pay, Shadow Minister for Finance, Small Business and the Gig Economy, Daniel Mookhey, said today as part of a visit to Wollongong.

Mr Mookhey was also clear that workers in the non-gig economy should also be well paid and work in safe workplaces.

Mr Mookhey joined Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully to meet with local young workers to discuss issues that they face in the workplace.

Young workers in many Wollongong businesses have experienced wage theft, with their employers either paying them incorrectly, or in cash, or both.

Following investigations by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) almost $130,000 in wages for 458 employees at 36 businesses had been recovered throughout Wollongong. The FWO also issued local businesses with 16 formal cautions, 37 on-the-spot fines and two compliance notices.

Fair Work inspectors targeted Wollongong because of its high population of university students and the large number of anonymous tip-offs it had received.

The gig economy is also playing an ever greater role in NSW, with around 7.9 per cent of the population of NSW working in the gig economy. One of the largest demographics being men aged 18 to 34.

Mr Mookhey also met with the University of Wollongong to discuss their programs to cooperate with small businesses, as well as local union and small business representatives to discuss how the gig economy and the future of work can be shaped so that it delivers fairness for all of those investing or working in it.

“Thank you to these young workers for telling me their stories today. As the first Shadow Minister for the Gig Economy, it is important to me to hear their experiences and support them in their fight for a fair wage and safe working conditions.” Mr Mookhey said.

“Labor’s ambition is to shape the future economy so that it delivers fairness for all people who invest and work within it.”

Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, said that workers in university cities like Wollongong need to be confident that when they get a job they will be safe at work and paid correctly.

“Business owners and operators also need to be confident that their competitors are providing safe workplaces and paying their workers correctly so that they are competing on a level playing field.

“As the economy of the future emerges everyone participating in it needs to be confident that the rules are fair. These issues go beyond the immediate issues with ride-sharing and food delivery to potentially all kinds of work in the future”, Mr Scully said.

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