November 9, 2021

More shocking gig company cover ups

Revelations of covered up worker injuries and deaths in recent months shows why we need to smash the gig economy’s deadly model of exploitation.


Only recently Australians were shocked to learn the truth of Burak Dogan, who was fatally struck while riding his bike in Sydney. UberEats attempted to cover up Burak’s death and deny his family compensation by claiming he was not working at the time, even though he was logged in to the UberEats app and receiving orders when he was killed.


While the circumstances of Burak’s death are shocking, they are shamefully not a one-off.


In September, DoorDash also admitted it had failed to report the death of a food delivery worker killed in Melbourne a year earlier. Senior management at DoorDash conceded they only became aware of the incident when preparing for their appearance at the Inquiry.


This admission brings the 2020 food delivery worker death toll to seven.


The problem


Nothing is being done to address the root cause of worker injuries and deaths: exploitation.


The gig economy’s sham contracting arrangements deliberately misclassify workers, placing them outside industrial protections so that companies can pressure workers to work longer, faster and take more risks without bearing any responsibility.


Even when action is taken – like recent fines imposed on Uber by the NSW Point to Point Commissioner for not disclosing over 500 incidents including collisions requiring hospitalisation – these companies write off the penalties as simply the cost of doing business.


The solution


The only way to end this insidious culture is through Federal regulation with teeth.


We need an independent body to enforce strict reporting obligations that would leave these companies nowhere to hide, while imposing minimum standards to end the deadly pressure forcing food delivery workers to take risks on the job.

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