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Josh Klooger is claiming he was unfairly dismissed as a Foodora courier Photo: Eddie Jim

‘FIRED FOR TAKING A HOLIDAY’ – BICYCLE DELIVERY RIDERS CLAIM UNFAIR DISMISSAL

March 14, 2018

Delivery riders and supporters protested yesterday over low wages that force 75% of riders below minimum rates and a lack of protections for injuries and abuse on the job.

Josh Klooger, a delivery rider who was sacked after two years with Foodora over raising pay and conditions said things were becoming harder for riders.

“Rates are being slashed, shift allocation metrics are encouraging riskier behaviour and riders on higher rates are being unfairly dismissed. This is why we are taking a stance and demanding our rights,” he said.

A survey of over delivery riders shows:

  • three out of every four food delivery riders are paid below the minimum award wage – for a casual worker that is $24.21

  • Riders are working for effective pay rates as low as $6.67/hour

  • almost 50% said they or someone they know has been injured doing their job

  • over 70% of riders said they should get entitlements such as sick leave.

  • This is not a “pocket money job”:

    • 1 in 4 riders (26%) work full time hours (40+ hours per week)

    • 3 in 4 (76%) riders work 20 or more hours per week.

    • over 26% work more than 40 hours a week

    • The average age is just under 26 years

Josh is one of two Foodora cyclists who have launched unfair dismissal claims in cases the TWU believes could prove a test case for the burgeoning food delivery industry.

Josh and Avi Winner are launching claims arguing they were unfairly dismissed for taking holidays and speaking out about being underpaid.

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said while the two workers were hired as independent contractors, Foodora had treated them as employees.

The case will seek to build on the the High Court of Australia decisions in Hollis versus Vabu which found that couriers riding their own bicycles were employees and not independent contractors even though they were responsible for repairs, loss or damage to their equipment and uniforms.

A court will look beyond a contract arrangement to the total relationship between the worker and the company including the level of control the company exercised over the workers including their hours and requirements to wear uniforms to decide whether the workers are employees or independent contractors.

Mr Sheldon argued there was even more evidence that Foodora cyclists were allegedly employees than there was in the Hollis versus Vabu case which dealt with a bicycle rider working for Crisis Couriers.

“There are more requirements in my view at foodora, Deliveroo and Uber Eats than there was in the Vabu case,” Mr Sheldon said.

Mr Sheldon said Mr Klooger had publicly raised concerns about his work and reduced pay rates before being sacked earlier this year. He had also allegedly refused to divulge online correspondence with other employees. 

Mr Winner said he had a pressing need to take leave to go overseas late last year, but when he returned to work he was given fewer shifts and then allegedly sacked without notice for “inactivity”.

“Companies on one hand are saying you have freedom to be a contractor, but if you act like a contractor they terminate your employment,” Mr Sheldon said.

“Riders are forced to make themselves available for shifts on the companies’ terms and are penalised if they get injured, sick or take leave.

“These unfair dismissal cases are about demanding rights for workers and standing up to the tech billionaires.”

– with The Canberra Times.

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