October 12, 2020

Legitimate delivery drivers to protest against Amazon Flex for undermining Australian jobs and public safety

Drivers employed by legitimate delivery companies will form a convoy of protest around Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Sydney today, angry that Amazon Flex is undermining Australia’s laws by paying desperate people below minimum wage to deliver parcels with personal vehicles under extreme time pressure.

A new financial examination of Amazon’s pay rates by the TWU reveals all its drivers are being paid well under Australia’s minimum wage –significantly under when costs like insurance, petrol, and maintenance are taken into account.

“Amazon Flex entering our market is another blow to Australia’s basic workers’ rights like minimum wage and workers’ compensation. For years, workers and unions have exposed the gig economy sham for its exploitation and dodging of industrial and WHS legislation. Now here we have a retail giant that has profited immensely from the pandemic on a mission to undercut legitimate companies and tear down our labour standards,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.

“The Australian Government must pay attention to the worker abuses already rife in Australia since the likes of Uber came to our shores. Just two weeks ago, two gig economy workers were tragically killed on the job and their families left fighting for basic support like funeral costs. State and Federal Governments have had long enough to decide if this is the future of work we’ll accept in this country. Their inaction has left the door wide open for Amazon to come in and wreak more havoc in transport.”

The TWU is calling on the NSW Government to urgently introduce laws that will force Amazon Flex to adhere to Australian safety standards, and Australian labour practices.

There has been a rise in the number of people taking up precarious gig economy related work, people looking for an alternative income as their normal jobs are not currently available.

“Amazon Flex has arrogantly driven into Australia with a business model that will block up our roads with desperately underpaid delivery drivers in potentially unsafe vehicles,” said the TWU’s NSW Secretary Richard Olsen.

“Amazon is undermining Australian transport companies that obey Australians laws, recognise Australian safety standards, and uphold basic Australian values about work. Unlike these companies, Amazon Flex contributes zero to our economy or our communities.

“If Amazon Flex is allowed to continue operating unregulated, people will be seriously injured and killed. That’s not an extreme prediction, it’s what happens when the business model being used applies extreme time pressure to a desperate underpaid person behind the wheel of an unregulated vehicle.”

“Today, the New South Wales parliament will kick off an inquiry into the future of work and the impact of big tech. Heading their agenda should be the way our roads, our safety, and our labour standards are being manipulated and abused by Amazon.”

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