The TWU has renewed calls for urgent reform in the gig economy after an Uber Eats driver was met with generic form responses when she refused to deliver a package that she correctly expected to contain crystal meth.
The Uber Eats driver, who took the package to police, was unable to contact the company by phone directly. She received generic replies that the company could not compensate her for the money she would have received from the trip, and said it did not take down individual reviews, but did eventually remove the one-star review a week later following media revelations.
A recent report by the McKell Institute showed that more than half of gig workers experience work-related stress, anxiety, and mental health issues, and one in four have been deactivated by an app. 95% of gig workers support regulation to set standards in the gig economy.
Since 2017, 11 food delivery riders and one rideshare driver have been killed in Australia.
TWU Assistant National Secretary Nick McIntosh said the incident showed how urgent reform was for all gig workers to have access to genuine dispute resolution and for there to be enforceable minimum standards.
“The gig economy has been the wild west for far too long. It is appalling that gig workers right across the industry have to jump through hoops just to speak with an actual person – even in this case where a customer has engaged in stunning illegal activity.”
“One quarter of gig workers have been deactivated from an app, most of them never interacting with a person or entitled to any right of reply. Because of the lack of regulation in the gig economy, workers across this industry are incredibly vulnerable: they have no minimum standards, no workers’ compensation and no safeguards, and this incident shows just how dangerous this work can be without those rights.”
“Federal Parliament must urgently back reform that would enforce minimum standards in the gig economy to ensure the safety and protections of both gig workers and the broader public.”