Self-regulation Might Fix Australia’s Gig Economy Problems


Gig-economy self-regulation in Australia may provide a more durable result than depending only on the government to broker change.

Dr. Alex Veen, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney Business, makes this assertion. The expert clarified that while the government’s new Commission, a planned overhaul of industrial relations, would provide gig workers more safeguards, it loses a chance to embrace regulatory innovation and break away from Australia’s hostile workplace relations.

According to Dr. Veen, workers in historically underrepresented categories, such as immigrants, those with disabilities or caregiving duties, and older workers, rely heavily on the gig economy for their income. Because of this, these workers are more susceptible to the whims of the gig economy, where platforms give priority to cost-cutting initiatives, giving workers less protections against termination and increased chances of workplace accidents.

Related link: Australia To Make Unpaid Carer Workforce More Inclusive

“The issue, though, is that the government has chosen to imitate an enterprise bargaining system that hasn’t been successful and has fostered an adversarial culture,” Dr. Veen went on. He contended that rather than making the parties rely on the new Commission to make choices they would inevitably disagree with, gig economy platforms and workers ought to seize the chance to test out industry-wide self-regulation. Dr. Veen clarified that this cooperative effort to find answers will “help to foster more collaborative and productive workplace relations,” citing the Dutch temporary staffing industry as an effective illustration of self-regulation.

He clarified that the actual danger associated with the proposed jurisdiction is that any attempts at collective bargaining might be undermined by rulings establishing mandatory minimum standards. He said, “rather than depending on the Commission to set the agenda, the government has an opportunity to learn from a more successful approach and empower the industry to proactively develop its own solutions.”

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