Written by Workforce NSW editor Steph D’Souza.
“The whole industry’s a mess”, Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) NSW general secretary Michael Aird told WFNSW, in the wake of calls to regulate the ride-sharing provider ‘Uber’ by both Labor and the Greens. Aird said the problem was broader than Uber, as the NSW Taxi Council also undermined workers’ rights and the whole industry needed to be reformed so drivers were ensured basic standards as employees. On Uber, Aird said drivers should have access to unfair dismissal rights, collective negotiation and dispute resolution processes like an “employee”. The union is after a tripartite arrangement rather than the “two-way relationship” between the NSW Government and the Taxi Council so as to give workers a voice. He said workers needed a say on: fair pay and community standards (eg ensuring vehicle maintenance), and “enforceable and independent auditing provisions for all operators, combined with education and training for drivers”. “Some bailee drivers are working on $7.55 an hour,” Aird said referring to the Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal’s findings. “It’s vomit inducing.” TWU NSW has taken the Taxi Council to the Industrial Relations Commission in a bid to ensure minimum wages for drivers (WFNSW 26/09/14). The Taxi Council has previously called on the union to join its campaign against Uber, last week calling the UberX service “work choices on steroids”.
‘Point-to-point’ review welcome: Taxi Council
Transport and infrastructure minister Andrew Constance announced on July 1 the dept’s ‘point-to-point’ taskforce headed by Professor Gary Sturgess. It will “work with customers, the taxi industry, hire car companies and other stakeholders to look at sustainability and competition in the market”. Constance said: “We know cities around the world are grappling with these changes and in particular, the introduction of new unregulated ridesharing apps. I have made it a priority to get to the bottom of these issues, no matter how complex.” The Taxi Council welcomed the review saying it was important “to shine a light on the many issues affecting the NSW Taxi Industry and that includes the challenges presented by illegal ridesharing”. Oppn leader Luke Foley said the review showed the govt was “stuck in the slow lane on ridesharing” with the findings only due back in October. Foley said: “Ridesharing has already been regulated in more than 24 jurisdictions around the world – it’s time for NSW to join that list.”
(This story first ran in Workforce NSW 19685, July 3, 2015)
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