Currently there is a major push been driven by the Transport Workers Union – TWU
and Australian Unions
on the impact on gig workers in the rideshare and food delivery industries. Federal and state governments are working on what needs are required to protect some of our most vulnerable workers. This is a good thing!
As yet, what I have not seen, is any serious discussion around those adversely impacted by a rideshare gig company’s illegal entry into the Australian market.
We have nationally ten’s of thousands of commercial passenger drivers (taxi drivers) who have not only lost millions of dollars in licences, but have had the market flooded with tens of thousands of rideshare vehicles. Victoria has gone from around 8000 commercial passenger vehicles to over 90000, this was socially and financially irresponsible, flooding the market it slashed drivers ability to make a living wage!
The taxi industry is an ESSENTIAL SERVICE, they are the only ones who supply wheelchair disability vehicles!
Taxi drivers have fares set for rank and hail trips, this to protect vulnerable passengers.
Taxi drivers are highly vulnerable to the impact of international gig companies, and governments around this country have failed them.
They are a minority cohort of vulnerable essential workers. Majority of drivers, English is not their first language, more often than not they earn below the minimum wage, they don’t have superannuation, unlikely to be covered by Workcover, no holiday pay, no sick leave and no maternity leave. These are a set of conditions that the vast majority of Australians would find unacceptable in 2023, yet we expect these workers to be at our beck and call. 24/7
Before anybody foolishly says nobody forces them to do it, let me tell you no one chooses to work under these set of conditions, life has dealt these workers a set of cards and for many this is their only choice. Driving a taxi is fast becoming a job of last resort for many.
We should reflect on the harm that has been done to those who have worked in this industry and those who continue to do so.