August 28, 2019

'It's not fair.
It's not right': rider takes Deliveroo to court

Sydney Morning Herald, by Anna Patty, 28 August 2019

A former Deliveroo rider will take the app-driven food delivery company to court alleging he was underpaid as an “employee”.

Jeremy Rhind is taking legal action against Deliveroo after he calculated he was earning about $10.50 an hour – a bit more than half the minimum wage of $18.93.

"It's not right": Jeremy Rhind.
“It’s not right”: Jeremy Rhind. Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Rhind’s case comes less than a year after a Foodora rider won a similar argument against the company’s claim he was an independent contractor.

Mr Rhind, a Canberra office worker aged in his mid 30s, said he received $8.55 per delivery in a job he took to top up his earnings.

“I’m not a legal person, but I don’t think anyone whether they are an employee or contractor should be paid half the minimum wage. I feel it is not fair … it’s not right,” he said.

“After I’d been doing it for about nine months when I was doing my tax and working out my income for the financial year, I worked out I was getting $10.50 per hour. I thought I could either forget about it or do something.”

Mr Rhind launched legal action and is being supported by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) which won a case in the Fair Work Commission last year on behalf of former Foodora rider Josh Klooger who successfully argued he was an employee and not an independent contractor in an unfair dismissal claim.

Similarly, Mr Rhind will argue he was working as an employee and therefore entitled to the legal minimum wage under the Fair Work Act.

Mr Rhind said the TWU contacted him after it saw he had lodged a case to be argued in the Federal Circuit Court.

“Originally I had planned to do it my own. It was a David a Goliath court battle with just me vs Minter Ellison, a fancy law firm,” he said.

“The TWU offered to help me out with some legal assistance. I wasn’t a member of the union and am still not a member.

“There are thousands of other workers in my position likely to be paid half the minimum wage.”

Mr Rhind is seeking $9600 in alleged unpaid wages, superannuation and other damages.

Josh Klooger successfully claimed he was unfairly dismissed as a Foodora courier.
Josh Klooger successfully claimed he was unfairly dismissed as a Foodora courier. Eddie Jim


TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said failure to regulate the gig economy has meant Mr Rhind and Mr Klooger had to “stand up to companies one by one”.

“Just because a worker is engaged via an app this doesn’t mean they should be forced to work below minimum rates,” Mr Kaine said.

“No amount of talk about flexibility can dress this up as anything but exploitation. Riders have the right to be paid a fair rate and that is what we will be fighting for.”

A Deliveroo spokesperson said riders for the organisation average working 15 hours a week, earning $22 per hour.

“Deliveroo offers well-paid, flexible work to more than 8000 riders across Australia, who are all independent contractors,” the spokesperson said.

“This enables riders to choose when, where and whether to work, with the flexibility and freedom riders repeatedly tell us they want … fitting riding around study, hobbies, caring responsibilities or other jobs. We will always defend riders’ ability to choose to work this way.”

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