Wage theft case against Deliveroo opens

Deliveroo faces charges of wage theft in the Federal Court today after a rider was paid just over $10 an hour for delivering food.

The Transport Workers’ Union is supporting Canberra-based rider Jeremy Rhind in a case which could set a precedent for other gig economy workers.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the case would expose how wage theft is rife in the gig economy.

“Every day companies like Deliveroo, UberEats and others rip workers off in Australia to the tune of millions of dollars. There is no minimum wage or guaranteed income whatsoever and riders have to risk their lives to carry out deliveries as quickly as possible to make ends meet. With this case we want to call out the obscene wage theft happening in the gig economy,” he said.

“The Federal Government is facilitating the wage theft of food delivery riders by refusing to regulate. It is siding with tech billionaires instead of sticking up for workers in Australia. The lack of rights for those working in the gig economy is disturbing and the lack of action by the Federal Government is shocking,” Kaine said.

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 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. Two Sydney delivery riders and a Melbourne were killed in the last month.

A NSW parliamentary inquiry which will examine regulation of the gig economy opens on Monday. The Victorian Government is examining feedback on recommendations from an inquiry into the gig economy, which includes regulation of the sector.

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