The TWU says the extension of minimum rights and protections to riders employed by Menulog is a monumental leap forward in the industry, after the Fair Work Commission held food delivery riders were covered by the Road Transport and Distribution Award.
TWU National Assistant Secretary Nick McIntosh welcomed the win as a testament to the bravery of food delivery riders who fought for years to lift industry standards.
“Today’s decision is a momentous win in the fight to end insidious exploitation in the gig economy. This decision is confirmation of what we have always known: that food delivery workers are entitled to the same minimum rights and protections as other workers in the road transport industry”.
“At the time, we welcomed Menulog being the first gig company to rollout an industry-first employment trial, and we look forward to continuing to work constructively with the company to implement the Award conditions. Menulog’s trial and approach has shown companies can deliver the flexibility gig behemoths like UberEats and Deliveroo deny is possible”.
While celebrating the decision as a significant win for food delivery riders, the TWU is calling on the Federal Government to implement urgent regulatory intervention to protect companies like Menulog attempting to do the right thing.
“Lifting standards and providing minimum rights regardless of employment status throughout the industry is the best way to put food delivery riders on the front foot to end deadly gig exploitation. Scott Morrison has had his head in the sand for too long, and it’s time to rein in the gig behemoths”, McIntosh said.
The gig model of exploitation is built around underpaying workers minimum rates. In transport, gig workers are under deadly pressure to make as many deliveries in as short a period as possible, or they risk being terminated by their employers. This pressure incentivises risk taking and increases the likelihood of serious injury or death.
In 2020, seven food delivery workers were killed on the job. In one case, Uber tried to cover up the death by claiming the rider killed wasn’t working for the company at the time of his death, even though he was logged into the app and receiving orders when he was fatally struck.
In April 2021, the TWU and its food delivery rider members withdrew from a shambolic NSW Government Taskforce set up after a spate of worker deaths, over its sustained silencing of riders on exploitation and insistence that regulatory change was ‘beyond scope’.
The TWU has taken several cases against gig economy companies and is currently fighting an appeal from Deliveroo over the unfair sacking of rider Diego Franco.