Union calls for Uber drivers and Airbnb hosts facing tax crackdown to be protected

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Union calls for Uber drivers and Airbnb hosts facing tax crackdown to be protected

January 23, 2019 Syndicated 0

The Transport Workers Union of Australia has condemned the federal government’s plans to crack down on Uber drivers and Airbnb hosts who avoid paying tax.

On Wednesday, Treasury released an industry discussion paper on plans for a mandatory regime to ensure people working in the sharing economy pay their fair share of tax.

Major industry players include Uber, Airbnb, Airtasker and delivery services such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

But the reforms target people who work in the sector rather than the platforms themselves, many of which have overseas domiciles.

“We have heard nothing from the federal government on the widescale wage theft and non-payment of super by the likes of Uber, Deliveroo, and others,” said Tony Sheldon, TWU’s co-ordinator on the on-demand economy, in a statement.

“We have not seen any plans to regulate the on-demand economy to protect workers. Yet today we hear how the government plans to catch these underpaid workers. That pretty much sums up how this government views working people and whose side they are on.”

The assistant minister for treasury, Zed Seselja, says the sharing economy has seen significant growth in Australia.

“But as it grows, there is a risk that some individuals are not reporting their full income and avoiding the right amount of tax,” Seselja said in a statement.

“We are committed to making sure people pay their fair share of tax.”

But the TWU said it was more urgent to address gig economy workers’ rights to minimum pay, superannuation and sick leave. “They also need rights to collective bargaining so they can challenge these powerful multinationals,” Sheldon added.

The consultation paper is available on the Treasury website and submissions close on 22 February.

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