In a major boost for gig economy workers, a food delivery rider has won his case for unfair sacking against Amazon-backed Deliveroo.
The Transport Workers’ Union is calling for urgent Federal Government regulation to back the Fair Work Commission’s findings and to ensure other gig workers have rights and protections.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the judgment recognises that food delivery riders have rights.
“This is an important judgment and puts Australia in line with other countries across the world from the UK, to Spain and the Netherlands where the rights of gig economy workers have been recognised. This ruling has huge implications for gig workers in Australia and we urge the Federal Government to look at it today and to start devising regulation now,” he said.
“Diego worked hard for Deliveroo for three years and was booted off the app with no warning and over spurious claims that he wasn’t working fast enough. He wasn’t given a chance to argue his case and was left struggling to support his wife and baby daughter. Fair Work has slammed that behavior by Deliveroo so we expect the Federal Government to back the Commission’s judgement and to bring in reforms,” Kaine said.
“The treatment of gig workers isn’t just unfair, it is deadly. Riders work under the spectre that they may get sacked at any moment and are forced to risk their lives to make deliveries quickly. Between September and November five delivery riders died while working. We want the Federal Government to regulate in the right way and to put in place a tribunal with full powers to regulate on gig workers’ rights and protections.”
Diego Franco had worked with Deliveroo for three years when he was sacked last April. Hearings in the case were held in October and February.
The TWU also won a case in 2018 over the unfair sacking of Foodora rider Josh Klooger.
A judgment is also pending over gross underpayment of Deliveroo rider Jeremy Rhind. In December Uber settled a case over the unfair dismissal of Uber Eats driver Amita Gupta, after hearings in the case during which Federal Court justices slammed the company over its sham business model and the elaborate way it tried to deny any link with its workers.
Similar court cases across the world have sent shock waves through the gig economy, prompting governments to regulate the sector.
Working conditions impact on safety for workers, with five delivery riders killed while working between September and November last year.
Menulog and Hungry Panda have moved to recognise rights of riders. Menulog said it will trial minimum rights and rates for riders while Hungry Panda reversed rate cuts and reinstated two sacked riders.
Surveys have shown:
· Food delivery riders earn as little as $5 per delivery
· 70% say they are struggling to pay bills and buy food
· More than one in three has been injured on the job, with the vast majority (80%) receiving no support from their company
· Rideshare drivers earn an average of $12 an hour
· 17% have been sexually harassed or assaulted by passengers
· 85% said their wages had decreased while working in the gig economy
· 36% had been involved in a car accident while working