A new survey shows essential food delivery workers are earning on average just over $10 an hour after costs, while injuries and concerns about COVID-19 mount. The shocking survey results come as NSW politicians prepare to introduce a Bill to provide them with compulsory masks, gloves and sanitiser.
Riders and NSW politicians will hold a press conference today at NSW state parliament (Hospital Road – Domain Precinct Park) on the developments.
The survey of over 200 food delivery workers reveals almost 90% have seen their pay decrease with 70% saying they are struggling to pay bills and buy food. More than one in three has been injured on the job, with the vast majority (80%) receiving no support from their company. The pandemic has left the essential workers exposed with more than half saying they did not have enough masks, gloves and sanitiser.
Today NSW Labor Party politicians will give notice they will introduce a Bill seeking to ensure that food delivery workers are provided compulsory minimum personal protective equipment.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the Federal Government had failed these frontline workers.
“The rip-off of the heroes of the pandemic has been revealed through this survey. Companies like Uber and Deliveroo are continually slashing their pay, forcing food delivery workers to struggle. These workers are fearful about getting injured and they are fearful of contracting COVID. They don’t have enough protections or support. It is a shameful indictment of our system that the workers who allow people to receive food while self-isolating at home and who help restaurants to stay in business are treated in this way,” he said.
TWU NSW Branch Secretary Richard Olsen said despite the Federal Government’s inaction, NSW politicians were moving ahead on giving food delivery workers rights.
“The Federal Government has turned its back on these vulnerable workers and washed its hands of them. We are pleased to see NSW politicians stepping up and preparing to introduce a Bill to give workers the protections they need. Protective gear for all food delivery workers is a bare minimum – the Federal Government needs to stand up for workers in Australia and regulate the gig economy, mandating rights like sick leave, minimum hourly wage and the right to challenge and unfair sacking,” he said.
The Victorian Government in currently seeking feedback on its inquiry into the gig economy which recommended regulation of the sector.
The TWU wrote to all major food delivery companies including Uber and Deliveroo about concerns for delivery riders during the pandemic.
A positive response from DoorDash led to an agreement in July on COVID-19 protections for DoorDash delivery riders and drivers in Australia, including financial assistance for those who have tested positive for the virus, those who have been instructed to self-isolate, and for those who are at high risk if they contract the virus.
DoorDash has also agreed to an ongoing dialogue with the TWU on a broad range of issues affecting DoorDash riders and drivers, including insurance to cover riders and drivers injured on the job.
The TWU is taking several cases against gig economy companies, including unfair sackings against Deliveroo and Uber and a case against Deliveroo for gross underpayment. The TWU won a case for unfair dismissal against Foodora and helped ensure thousands of Foodora riders received backpay and unpaid super after the company admitted it had underpaid them.