Airbnb will pay union members to sign up as hosts under an unusual deal the Transport Workers Union says is about ending the exploitation of delivery drivers.
Under the deal, Airbnb will actively promote food and package delivery companies it believes do the right thing by their workers.
But the deal will also see TWU members paid $150 if they sign up to become Airbnb hosts.
The accommodation sharing platform will also tip $50 for each new union host into a not-for-profit company TEACHO set up by the TWU to improving research, training, industrial rights, and health and safety standards for transport workers..
The TWU has been campaigning against food delivery companies including UberEATS, Deliveroo and Foodora over pay and conditions for their workers.
It says none of the food delivery companies in the market are meeting the TWU’s benchmarks on ethical labour practices, meaning there are currently no providers Airbnb could endorse.
But it says the new deal is about affecting change.
“This is really a call for companies to lift their standards, that there are opportunities for them,” TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon has told AAP.
“Rather than going to the lowest standard, where people won’t get paid superannuation, don’t have workers’ compensation, and are paid below minimum wages, this is about encouraging the new economy to lift standards.”
Mr Sheldon said the situation was different for package delivery, and there were existing companies worthy of endorsement for the way they treat their workers.
He said Airbnb would endorse deserving delivery companies by giving its own business to them, and by encouraging Airbnb hosts to use and recommend them.
Airbnb also stands to gain new hosts with the incentive to TWU members.
Speaking at the TWU’s national council in Adelaide on Monday, former NSW Labor premier and Airbnb tourism advisory board member Bob Carr said the agreement promoted “a fair go for all” and was one of a number of social stands taken by the company.
Airbnb’s public policy chief Brent Thomas said ethical companies needed to do their bit to make sure “technology was a force for good”.
In a statement, a representative of Deliveroo told AAP the company offers thousands of riders “well-paid, flexible work they value”.
“Deliveroo riders are covered by insurance and the company is always seeking ways to improve the way in which we work with those who choose to become riders.”