Hungry Panda riders are celebrating a historic win for gig economy workers in Australia including pay increases, insurance and the reinstatement of two sacked riders who protested over pay cuts. Hungry Panda agreed to the demands of workers ending six weeks of riders’ protests, meetings with politicians and two unfair dismissal cases.
Hungry Panda has reversed unilateral pay cuts and increased rates in areas like Burwood that were previously on lower pay than riders in the Sydney CBD.
Last month the TWU filed two unfair dismissal cases in the Fair Work Commission on behalf of sacked riders Jun Yang and Xiangqian Li after they protested over pay cuts. The cases are planned to be withdrawn upon completion of the settlement.
Hungry Panda has also agreed to further demands including obtaining insurance for riders in the event of injury or death, and a commitment to continued negotiations with the union and riders on other matters such as the rider rating system and safety.
“This is a moment of triumph for food delivery riders. Unilateral pay cuts and unfair sackings are commonplace in Australia’s gig economy, but never before have these attacks on gig workers been reversed. This is a proud day for workers who held strong and stood together against corporate bullying. It is also a stark reminder of the desperate need for regulation in this country to ensure minimum standards and protections are awarded without underpaid riders having to armour up for battle with multinational tech giants. Last week Spain joined the long list of countries awarding minimum wage and rights to gig economy workers. Australia must catch up to put an end to the slaughter and savage exploitation on our streets,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
Last month two Hungry Panda riders gave evidence at the NSW Inquiry into the gig economy. That same week sacked rider Jun Yang joined the TWU in meetings at Parliament House with the Opposition Leader and Minister for Industrial Relations to call for a tribunal to set minimum pay and conditions for all workers.
Last week Spain announced it will give food delivery riders employee rights including collective bargaining. The move follows the UK Supreme Court ruling that Uber drivers are workers and have rights.
In Australia, Uber rushed to settle TWU’s unfair dismissal case on behalf of delivery driver Amita Gupta after Federal Court judges savaged its business model. Uber subsequently forced new contracts onto riders to attempt to distance itself from obligations to riders which came into effect this month.
Last year five food delivery riders were killed in Australia. The NSW Government set up a Taskforce to investigate the deaths, but the TWU argues the ‘guidelines’ it has produced are a nod to companies and scale back obligations to keep riders safe. Click here for the TWU’s submission.