July 23, 2023


*UPDATE: since this release went out, it has been confirmed by police that the rider was working for UberEats at the time of the crash. Riders passing by had noted a Fantuan food delivery bag, however food delivery riders often work for multiple companies. A recent McKell study revealed that 79 per cent of survey respondents use multiple apps, with three quarters saying they need to do so to earn enough income, while a third said it’s for job security, to protect them against their accounts being suddenly deactivated by the algorithm.*

The TWU has called on Federal Parliament to urgently pass lifesaving transport reform following the death of a food delivery rider in Sydney on Saturday.

The tragic incident is the 12th food delivery rider known to have been killed in Australia since 2017, though underreporting of these incidents as workplace deaths indicates the death toll associated with this work is likely much higher.

News reports confirm a 22-year-old motorcyclist was killed in Epping, Sydney following a crash at 8pm, however it was passing food delivery riders who identified that this was a worker working for food delivery company Fantuan.

The TWU will report this to SafeWork NSW as a workplace incident, although it is companies that are obliged to report any workplace death within 48 hours. The TWU has previously reported the death of food delivery rider Burak Dogan upon learning of the tragedy more than a year after his death.

There is currently no system in Australia to provide transport gig workers with rights like minimum wage, sick leave, workers’ compensation or protection from unfair contract terminations, which often leads to unsafe driving.

A McKell survey of over 1,000 transport gig workers recently revealed almost half earn less than minimum wage, rising to 66 per cent for those working full-time hours.

A quarter had experienced the instant job loss of ‘deactivation’ from the app which usually occurs when the algorithm deems the worker too slow or follows a customer complaint, with no investigation into its truthfulness and no right of reply.

More than half of food delivery riders reported feeling pressured to rush and take risks to make enough money and avoid deactivation. Just over a third of food delivery riders reported that they’d been injured at work.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said lifesaving transport reform is urgent.

“Our thoughts are with the rider’s loved ones after this horrific tragedy. Although no sum of money can compensate for this loss, grieving families of transport gig workers are twice wronged – first from the absence of rights that causes pressure to rush and take risks to pay the bills, and second from the denial of rights like workers’ compensation. The TWU will do everything within our power to get some justice for the family.

“Pressure to work long hours and at high speed to make enough money and avoid being sacked by an algorithm is killing workers in this country. Without rights, workers will continue to be slaughtered on our roads, regardless of band-aid solutions like ergonomic bags and high-visibility jackets.

“The task of removing the deadly pressure on transport gig workers through reform to set fair, safe and sustainable standards in transport will soon be before Federal Parliament. We urge every politician to use their vote to pass this lifesaving reform into law without delay.”

Click here for the full McKell report.

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