AIER recently attended the Industrial Relations Society of Queensland’s annual convention. The theme was “Back to the Future”.
Our presentation included the AIER’s analysis of why the workplace relations system is broken, including the march of neoliberalism into the regulation of work; a review of some of the indicators of the broken system, including mass exploitation, low wage growth and a persistent gender pay equity gap; and finally an outline of our ambitious project to envisage a new workplace relations architecture.
We also participated on a panel discussion, “Uber and Out” on workplace regulation, discussing the implications of the “gig” or “on-demand” economy. Andrew Stewart, also on the panel, spoke about the diversity of the “gig” economy and the challenges of regulation, noting his recent paper with Jim Stanford where they identified five options for regulation. We spoke on the battle occurring between Uber and nation states and other entities, like the City of London, around regulation and the implications for regulation when there is a disconnect between the labour of the drivers, for example Uber does not make a profit, and the value of the corporation,which in the case with Uber is around $70 billion.
Other sessions we attended included:
- an outline of the work the Queensland Government is undertaking in recognising family and domestic violence as a workplace issue, including implementing 10 days paid FDV leave and other measures;
- an outline of the Queensland government’s proposed labour hire regulatory scheme; and
- a presentation on the Cleaning Accountability Framework.
Thanks to the Queensland Teachers Union for sponsoring our session and giving the AIER the opportunity to talk about our work.