The Transport Workers’ Union is calling on the Federal Government to intervene in a case it is taking against food delivery company Deliveroo, after it underpaid a rider just over $10 per hour. The union won the first case in Australia against a gig economy company last year with a victory over Foodora, which has since exited Australia.
The Deliveroo case involves a Canberra-based rider and has been lodged in the Federal Circuit Court with a first hearing scheduled for October 8th.
“This rider faced what thousands of food delivery riders endure every day: getting ripped off their wages. We don’t accept this and we will fight it. Just because a worker is engaged via an app doesn’t mean they should be forced to work below minimum rates. No amount of talk about flexibility can dress this up as anything but exploitation. Riders have the right to be paid a fair rate and that is what we will be fighting for,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“We are calling for the Federal Government to intervene in the case we are taking against Deliveroo and to stand up to exploitation. The TWU has stood with riders and won a case for rights against Foodora. The Federal Government has failed to legislate following this victory and is ignoring the fact that riders in Australia are getting ripped off, denied superannuation, denied annual leave, refused adequate compensation when they are injured or assaulted on the job and are sacked without warning or the chance to appeal. It shows just how failed our system is that despite our win against Foodora last year riders must stand up to companies one by one in complex and lengthy court cases order to win rights,” he added.
Deliveroo, which three months ago received $850 million backing from Amazon, has recently slashed their rates even further with riders now paid around $6 per delivery. Over 2000 people have signed a petition calling on Deliveroo to raise their rates for riders.
A TWU survey of food delivery riders in Australia shows three out of every four are paid below minimum rates. Almost 50% of riders had either been injured on the job or knew someone who had. Three UberEats riders have been killed while working.
In May rideshare drivers in Australia took part in a day of global protest against Uber while food delivery riders delivered an invoice to Uber offices in Sydney for unpaid wages and superannuation.
This year almost 1,700 Foodora riders received back-pay totaling nearly $2.3 million after Foodora was forced to admit it was underpaying their wages and refusing them superannuation following audits by the ATO and Revenue NSW.