If it wasn’t for them, a lot of millennials – and quite a few of everyone else – would starve to death in their overpriced studio apartments.
But food delivery drivers have their own problems to contend with, namely also dying… and working unpaid, not getting superannuation, sick leave or annual leave, or compensation if they’re injured on the job.
Yesterday, food delivery drivers in Sydney had enough, and they gathered en-masse for a rally organised by the Transport Workers Union, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and the Council of International Students Australia.
Since mobile phone-based food delivery became a thing, three food delivery drivers have died on the job in Australia. And every day, they’re also being ripped off, says TWU’s on-demand economy co-ordinator Tony Sheldon.
“They are turning up for work with no guarantee they will actually get wages; the pay is well below minimum standards for transport workers; they have no super, sick pay or annual leave.
“When they get beaten or injured at work they don’t get appropriate support or compensation. They get sacked without warning or the chance to appeal.
“We will tell Uber and other gig economy companies today that enough is enough; pay your workers and stop the exploitation.’
Paulo, a food delivery rider who spoke at the rally said his job was a dangerous one, with little reward and even worse conditions if you’re injured.
“I broke my hand and I now have seven pins in it. I have friends who have had even worse injuries.
“Companies like Deliveroo and UberEats are constantly decreasing wages. A year ago I could get $14 per delivery, six months ago it went down to $10, one month ago it went down to $8, maybe next week it will be $6.
“This should not be happening. It is dangerous work in the rain and we should get a fair rate,” he said.
This week Foodora began paying 1,700 riders almost $2.3 million in backpay after underpaying their wages and not paying their super for years. But Foodora has left Australia still owing these riders $5.5 million, while 3,800 riders could not be reached to make a claim for backpay.
“The invoice we will serve on Uber today runs to many millions of dollars in wage theft and superannuation rip offs. The same applies to Deliveroo, Menulog, HarkHark and other companies which operate in the on-demand economy but fail to abide by our laws,” Sheldon said.
“The Federal Government has failed to stand up for workers in Australia and has allowed these companies to game our broken system.
A survey of riders by the TWU carried out last year has shown three out of four riders are paid below minimum rates.
Almost 50% of riders had either been injured on the job or knew someone who had been injured. Three delivery riders have been killed in Australia.
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