NSW Government targeting of exploited riders will lead to more deaths: TWU

The Transport Workers’ Union has slammed the NSW Government’s new food delivery laws, saying the targeting and punishment of exploited riders will add to the deadly pressures they face.

In an announcement to the Sydney Morning Herald, NSW Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson revealed riders will receive unique identification numbers and be targeted by police in compliance blitzes.

In his comments, Mr Anderson implied workers were to blame for the deaths of four riders last year, stating the NSW Government “can no longer stand by while riders continue placing themselves and others at risk.”

Food delivery riders and the TWU withdrew from the NSW Government’s food delivery Taskforce over its sustained silencing of workers’ safety concerns.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said targeting and issuing fines to underpaid riders over the symptoms of an exploitative industry they cannot control will put more pressure on them to work long hours and rush deliveries, further endangering their lives.

“These new laws are not about protecting the most exploited workers in our society. This is a shield for Silicon Valley behemoths and their sham business models which are literally killing riders on our roads.

“The NSW Government is using its farcical Taskforce to prop up its attack on workers. Riders and the TWU withdrew from the Taskforce over strong suspicions it was being held hostage by tech giants like Uber and that riders suffering under their deadly systems would become a public target, as has been announced today.

“Riders will be tracked, targeted and penalised by police while companies are still not required to provide helmets.

“It is disappointing to see Mr Anderson blaming the deaths of four riders on this exploited and pressured workforce. Riders can lose their below minimum wage job in an instant if they cannot meet the unrealistic deadlines set by apps and algorithms – an issue the NSW Government has refused to listen to or address.

“Just last month the Fair Work Commission slammed Deliveroo’s business model and described its unfair sacking of Diego Franco for delivering ‘too slowly’ as ‘lacking basic human dignity’. The NSW Government should seize this crucial moment to regulate the food delivery sector, not stand behind companies like Deliveroo.

“We implore Mr Anderson to push back on pressure from tech giants and support companies trying to do the right thing like Menulog with regulation to lift standards and level the playing field.”

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