19 February 2019

After posting yesterday’s link about how labour law can make workers vulnerable, I saw this report on Deliveroo’s campaign to have the law changed to suit its particular model of exploitation. UNSW’s Shae McCrystal says Deliveroo is driven by impending judgments that may find it has engaged in sham contracting, and wants to shift the goalposts: “Every time you talk about a third category of worker, a ‘third way’, what you are really talking about is creating a category of worker that is denied the protections of labour law … [with] more grey areas where they get fewer protections and less pay.” The University of Sydney’s Joellen Riley says instead of carving people out of legal definitions of employment, we should be expanding the class of workers who are protected: “I think too much time and legal costs have been wasted in arguing about whether these workers are in fact employees. If we think they should enjoy decent working conditions (and I do) I think it is time we legislated to provide those working conditions directly — not by deeming them to be employees, but by working out an appropriate regulatory regime that would address the exploitative practices in these arrangements.”