Gig workers protest in Sydney

Food delivery workers will protest in Sydney today over low pay and lack of rights, following cuts to pay by Uber and a Fair Work Commission judgment yesterday stating that a Deliveroo rider was sacked unfairly.

Protesters will call on the Federal Government to regulate the gig economy to address the low pay, lack of rights and safety risks. Uber pays as little as $5 per delivery while delivery riders and drivers still face sackings without warning or explanation despite yesterday’s Commission ruling.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said anger was palpable among gig economy workers.

“Frustration is boiling among food delivery riders and drivers. They are furious that despite the deaths of fellow riders and the exposés of exploitation that Uber continues to pay poverty wages. They are furious that 24 hours ago the Fair Work Commission ruled yet again that riders have rights, yet the Federal Government has not said a word in response. Gig workers are taking to the streets today to demand regulation,” he said.

“Uber paying riders as little as $5 per delivery is causing workers to struggle and to risk their lives to complete as many orders as possible to pay their bills. Deliveroo has boldly said it won’t accept the Fair Work commission’s ruling yesterday slamming its business model. These gig economy companies are trashing our labour laws and the lives of workers while the Federal Government stands by and lets them,” Kaine added.

The TWU has written to Minister for Industrial Relations Michaelia Cash seeking an urgent meeting following yesterday’s Deliveroo judgment. Diego Franco had worked with Deliveroo for three years when he was sacked last April.

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

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