A new survey shows food delivery riders are suffering over $300 in wage theft each week as riders prepare to serve a Charter of Rights on Uber and Deliveroo demanding minimum rates and the right to bargain for better pay and safety.
Riders will deliver the charter today during protests at Uber’s headquarters in Sydney and Deliveroo’s headquarters in Melbourne.
The survey of 240 riders shows a collapse in pay for riders since food delivery apps entered the Australian market in 2015, with hourly guaranteed rates decreasing from $18.50 per hour to as little as $5.90 per delivery now. When calculated against minimum award rates, riders were having $322.15 in wages and superannuation stolen from them each week.
Injuries are a major problem with one in four riders reporting being in an accident while working. Injuries include concussions, knee injuries, broken bones, back injuries, fractured jaws and noses, dislocations and associated mental trauma.
“Today we will present Uber and Deliveroo with evidence of how they are ripping workers off and the evidence that riders want rights. These companies need to accept the slave-like conditions they are imposing on workers in Australia through low rates, appalling injuries, unfair sackings and they need to sign up to the Charter of Rights to give them protections. The appalling practices of wage theft and throwing workers on the scrap heap when they are injured or no longer useful must end,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“Riders have stood together and told us what rights they want. Through the charter they want an end to the ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ practice where they carry all the liability and Uber and Deliveroo accept none of the responsibility. Riders are taking this stand amidst the absence of any semblance of interest from the Federal Government which has outright refused to support them,” he added.
“The delivery riders snapshot paints a picture of extreme worker exploitation in the food delivery industry. The people who are delivering Australia’s food are suffering from starvation wages and risking injury and death each time they take an order – and what we’re seeing is that these workers have had enough. The likes of Uber and Deliveroo need to accept that if they want to operate in the Australian market, they need to abide by Australian employment law.” said Luke Hilakari, Secretary of Victorian Trades Hall Council.
The Federal Government has refused to regulate gig economy companies and has refused to intervene in cases being taken by the TWU, one against Uber over unfair dismissal and one against Deliveroo over gross underpayment.
The Charter of Rights was voted on by 267 riders and includes the right to:
- Minimum rates
- Extra pay for weekend, public holiday and night work
- Information on how their rate is calculated and how work is allocated
- Bargain on pay and safety
- Training and fully funded insurance for when they get injured at work
- An allowance for riding during bad weather
The survey also showed that:
- The average age of riders surveyed is 26. Two-thirds of riders are aged under 30.
- The majority of riders (3 in 4) are temporary visa holders, including international student visas, working holiday visas, bridging
- 3 in 5 riders said it is not possible to negotiate a pay rise.
- 1 in 5 said they did not know how they would negotiate a pay rise.
- Just 1 in 10 said they would contact the company directly if they wanted to negotiate a pay rise. However, those who had attempted to do this were unsuccessful.
- Only 2% of riders surveyed said they would not negotiate for a pay rise as they were happy with current pay rates.