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Seven health and safety representatives have been elected to represent Sydney riders at Deliveroo, the first such representatives ever elected at a gig economy company in Australia despite the roles being commonplace at most workplaces.
The representatives (who are riders) will be able to assist co-workers enforce their rights. This is especially important because they deal with dangerous risks including collisions with cars, lethal falls from their bikes and heat stress. They will also have powers and responsibilities to take action to improve safety. They’ll be able to:
The election follows months of delays and obstacles by Deliveroo to the process, like their initial proposals to have representatives that would cover large geographical areas. This would have made their work impossible.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the election is vital following the deaths of five riders in September and October of 2020.
“The election of health and safety representatives by their co-workers is a milestone for the gig economy in Australia. This is an important step towards holding these companies to account for ensuring a safe working environment. Now Deliveroo riders have representatives to turn to when they need assistance on keeping safe,” he said.
“Now we need to address the risks associated with the pressure riders are under to speed and work long hours. To do this we need Federal Government regulation in place. We need to ensure riders have appropriate minimum rates and the right to challenge an arbitrary sacking. They need the right to training, insurance and protective gear,” Kaine said.
Riders and the TWU formally sought assistance from Safe Work NSW a year ago to force Deliveroo to adhere to workplace health and safety laws. The union took action in the Fair Work Commission over Deliveroo’s refusal to provide adequate local representative structures to workers. Legal proceedings continue to ensure Deliveroo follows the law.
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