The Victorian taxi industry’s decision to change its tactics towards Uber from confrontation to seeking negotiation and regulation is a welcome burst of common sense from an industry that hasn’t displayed a great deal of it so far.

The industry’s attempt to ban a company — indeed a whole new economic practice — and one that has proven wildly popular is a measure of how arrogant and out of touch monopoly control has made Big (Yellow) Taxi.

Head of the Victorian Taxi Association David Samuel has said that the industry now seeks the public’s views, and has launched a public relations blitz (which has mostly backfired) under the hashtag #yourtaxis. If they have a swear jar handy, none of them need ever drive again.

But the arrogance of this former monopoly industry and the ease offered by Uber shouldn’t blind us to the fact that the Uberisation of the economy represents a huge challenge in Australia.

Uber-like work remains unlicensed piecework, a very old form of exploitation disguised by its mediation through an app. In a society that wants to avoid the destruction of such social security as exists through fair employment laws — including guaranteed minimum wage — the growth of Uber and other companies like it requires vigilance.

Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey