The hearing is the first involving an unfair dismissal of a food delivery rider in the on-demand economy. It follows several protests and demands by riders for rights.
Ahead of the hearing rider Josh Klooger said: “Riders deserve fair rates, superannuation and protections when they are sick and injured on the job. We deserve the right to be able to challenge unfair sackings and to be able to speak out about the way we are treated. I spoke out because Foodora was slashing rates for new riders and ended up losing my job. Today I’m standing up to say that’s not fair and that riders deserve better,” Klooger said.
TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said food delivery companies are abusing riders to make money. “Riders are fighting back against a system and saying it’s not ok to trash workers’ rights. What we are seeing is old-fashioned exploitation, which harks back to working conditions from the 1800s. The difference now is that change is coming via apps and by tech billionaires,” Sheldon said.
The TWU previously criticised Foodora over leaked internal emails which showed the company was aware it was engaging in sham-contracting. Bike couriers working for transport operators have won rates and conditions well above transport awards.
“Foodora knows it is denying its workers their rights and is gaming the system by operating in the way it is. But riders are standing up and fighting against this,” Sheldon added.
The hearing occurs on the same day the Andrews Labor Government announces reforms to include delivery riders under The Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act. The TWU supports this move towards providing workers access to the rights they have always deserved. More needs to be done to ensure all workers, regardless of technological advancements, are guaranteed workplace protections in Australia.
“The rules clearly need to be changed but the Federal Government does not have the political will to do so. This is the technological future the Federal Government is mandating for our kids,” Sheldon said.
A survey of riders has shown three out of every four riders is paid below minimum rates.
The rider survey also found:
- Almost 50% of riders had either been injured on the job or knew someone who had.
- over 70% of riders said they should get entitlements such as sick leave.
- 1 in 4 riders (26%) work full time hours (40+ hours per week).
- 3 in 4 (76%) riders work 20 or more hours per week.
- over 26% work more than 40 hours a week.
- The average age is just under 26 years.