The Guardian • Issue #2057


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2057

A major survey conducted by McKell, the Transport Workers Union and TEACHO sheds light on the harsh reality faced by food delivery, rideshare, and AmazonFlex drivers. The survey, which included over 1000 transport gig workers, reveals that the notion of “flexibility” is merely an illusion. The key findings of the survey show low pay, job insecurity, and the absence of fair, safe, and sustainable standards, highlighting the urgent need for transport reform. The survey uncovered a shocking truth: 81 per cent of respondents depend on gig work as their primary source of income, but are overwhelmingly struggling to make ends meet. Astonishingly, the more hours they work, the lower their hourly pay becomes. Approximately 66 per cent of full-time workers and at least 45 per cent of all workers earn less than the minimum wage, potentially affecting over 100,000 gig workers in Australia. This alarming trend amounts to the equivalent of ongoing wage theft, and undermines the livelihoods of hardworking individuals. Deadly pressure is affecting gig workers. More than half of the respondents experience work-related stress, anxiety, and mental health issues. 56 per cent of food delivery riders said they’re pressured to rush and take risks on the road to earn enough money and avoid “deactivation” for being deemed too slow by the algorithm. While flexibility is often cited as a major benefit of gig work, the survey revealed a different reality. 54 per cent of respondents prioritise fair pay and safe working conditions over flexible hours. About 41 per cent of workers are forced to work over 40 hours a week, and 69 per cent feel compelled to work during peak hours to earn a sufficient income. Said one worker: “I work 7 days a week and often above 70-80 hours a week, and I barely make enough money to live.”

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: Confirmation from mining company Tamboran that it has “secured” 170 hectares at the Middle Arm petrochemical precinct in Darwin Harbour proves beyond all doubt that the publicly-funded facility will exist to artificially prop up a Northern Territory fracking industry. Tamboran’s ASX statement says the land “is expected to host a (fracked gas) development with an initial capacity of 6.6 million tonnes of LNG per annum, with the potential for expansion.” Tamboran was fined $6,500 in January this year for using more than 300,000 litres of drilling sump waste water for dust suppression. The Northern Territory’s environmental regulator has also reportedly launched an investigation into allegations that heavy metal contaminants such as lead and barium have since been found in a nearby cattle breeding paddock. Frack Free NT spokesperson Phil Scott said, “This announcement confirms what groups like ours have been saying since day one – that the government-provided $1.5 billion for the Middle Arm Precinct will be a taxpayer funded subsidy for fracking companies like Tamboran.” This is the Albanese and Fyles Government working hand in fist to artificially create a market for fracked gas when otherwise, it’s unlikely production scale fracking would be economically justifiable in the Territory. These governments have claimed that they won’t support fracked gas projects if they don’t stack up environmentally, socially, or economically, but here they are sinking scarce public funds into a risky, climate-wrecking project regardless.

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