TWU notifies Safe Work as ubereats food delivery rider dies

The Transport Workers’ Union has notified Safe Work NSW after a food delivery rider was killed after a crash in Sydney on Saturday.

UberEats rider Bijoy Paul, a 27-year-old Bangladash national, died in hospital after being hit by a car in Rockdale before 11am yesterday.

It is the fourth food delivery known to have died in Australia since late September. Gig economy companies like Uber have no obligation to provide insurance for riders because they structure their businesses to avoid workplace rights for workers.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the death was another devastating blow for riders.

“Our hearts go out to the family of this rider and we know this will send shockwaves throughout the delivery rider community. We have notified Safe Work NSW that this should be investigated as a workplace death and they are appointing an inspector,” he said.

“Riders are being put onto bikes with no training or protective gear, they are working our streets day and night for little pay. They have no right to insurance and when they get injured or die, it’s at the discretion of their companies as to whether they and their families get supported. This is an utter disgrace and the Federal Government is refusing to hold companies to account for flouting our standards and allowing workers to die without protections,” he said.

Dede Fredy, Xiaojun Chen and Chow Khai Shien were the other riders killed recently.

The widow of a Mr Chen and his two children have been left without compensation and she gave evidence at a NSW parliamentary inquiry on the gig economy earlier this month. The TWU is assisting Ms Wei in examining ways to access compensation following the death of her husband.

An UberEats driver was held at knifepoint in Sydney last week and his car was stolen.

The TWU took Deliveroo to court recently over the wage theft of a rider. The TWU is also fighting a case over a food delivery rider sacked unfairly by Deliveroo and is appealing a case over unfair sacking against UberEats. The TWU is assisting delivery riders in pursuing Deliveroo on its obligations under workplace heathy and safety laws.

The TWU won a case for unfair sacking against Foodora in 2018.

A survey of delivery riders in September showed average earnings after costs was just over $10 an hour while almost 90% have seen their pay decrease and 70% say they are struggling to pay bills and buy food.

The pandemic has left the essential workers exposed with more than half saying they did not have enough masks, gloves and sanitiser.

More than one in three riders has been injured on the job, with the vast majority (80%) receiving no support from their company.

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