(Image: Supplied)

What does it take to roll back precarious work and underpayment through the gig economy? Not, it seems, government action, but the threat of public scrutiny through a Senate committee process.

A Senate inquiry into job security, established last year by Labor and chaired by former Transport Workers Union (TWU) boss Tony Sheldon, held its first hearings yesterday and they'll continue for two more days, then resume next week. Yesterday the inquiry heard from a number of major gig economy companies: Uber and Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Ola and Menulog.

That's already resulted in change, with Menulog declaring it was "morally obligated to do more" and announcing it would trial minimum wages and entitlements for its riders, in exchange for them working exclusively for the company. The TWU immediately welcomed the move and the fact that "socially conscious consumers" could use a service that "aligned with their values".