In late October this year the Victorian Labor Government announced new gig laws it intends to introduce. The promised laws have all the nice-sounding language of ‘rights’ for gig self-employed people, but in fact the laws amount to a stripping of rights.
We’ve seen this sort of cunning stuff before. In California, in 2020, new laws came into effect that outlawed the use of self-employed people. That is, the structure of the laws didn’t ban people being their own boss. But by making it illegal to use self-employed people, California destroyed the incomes of people who worked as their own boss.
The promised Victorian Labor laws would perform a similar underhand trick. Effectively the laws would impose huge union control and centralised regulation over gig platforms, thereby destroying their business models. The platforms would become unprofitable and be forced to leave Victoria.
This is why Deliveroo recently closed in Australia. They’d done deals with unions that made their business unviable. Close down was the answer!
And who suffers? Yep, you got it. It’s the thousands of self-employed people—try students, retirees and the rest—who use gig platforms to top up their income. Only 0.19 percent of gig workers use gig for their full-time work. Everyone else uses gig for income top-up.
The promised Victorian Labor law is a business destroyer. It’s a policy that says that Labor despises people who work as their own boss, working when they want to work. It’s a policy of hate toward small business people.
We saw this before in Victoria when, around 2017, the Victorian Labor Government forced the breaking of the contracts of hundreds of self-employed cleaners who had direct contracts to clean schools. Labor forced these ‘own boss’ cleaners out of business and handed the contracts to big business. Cleaners were forced to become union members or have no work.
The promised Victorian Labor gig destruction laws would:
- Force gig platforms into industrial-style ‘negotiations’ over how they manage their business and what the terms of their contracts are. This process would give unions power over gig platforms and gig workers.
- Force gig platforms to change their contracts.
- Destroy the entire concept and practice of ‘offer and acceptance of contract’ which is the core fundamental of commercial activity.
- Impose pay rates.
In effect, self-employed gig people would retain their theoretical ‘right’ to be self-employed. But gig work and income would simply disappear. This is a Labor policy that attacks the ability of low-income people to find income through being their own boss. It’s pretty disgusting!
This commentary should in no way be construed or taken as an endorsement (or otherwise) of any political candidate or party or as a suggestion as to how anyone should vote or not vote at the 26 November Victorian state election.