Negotiating labour standards in the gig economy: Airtasker and Unions New South Wales

The 'gig economy' uses digital platforms to bypass many of the regular responsibilities and costs of employment. Ambiguity as to whether gig-economy workers are independent contractors, dependent contractors or employees allows the undermining of traditional labour standards governing minimum wages and other legislated employment conditions. Labour law and institutions need to catch up to the new reality of this form of work and develop new tools to protect and enhance minimum standards for workers in digital platform businesses. Unions, business and government all have a role to play in the long term. Meanwhile, direct engagement between these new firms and workers' advocates can also help to mitigate the risks posed to labour standards by digital business models, by addressing regulatory gaps. This article is a case study of innovative negotiations between one platform business (Airtasker) and Unions New South Wales, a peak trade unions body in New South Wales, Australia, in order to establish agreed minimum standards for engagements negotiated through this platform.

Minter, K. (2017), 'Negotiating labour standards in the gig economy: Airtasker and Unions New South Wales,' Economic and Labour Relations Review 28(3), pp. 438-454.

Metadata

  • Research publication, Case study-platform
  • Australia
  • Yes
  • household tasks
  • On-location client-determined moderately skilled work
  • Airtasker
  • arbitration, income, health and safety, representation, industrial relations, social dialogue
  • English
  • Economic and Labour Relations Review (Publisher)
  • Qualitative research
  • 2017
  • Subscription
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