Food delivery riders and the Transport Workers’ Union will hold a vigil and lay flowers in memory of the five riders killed on the roads in the last two months.
Riders and the TWU will call for reform in the sector to give riders protections they need.
The vigil follows the deaths of UberEats riders Bijoy Paul on Saturday and an as yet unnamed rider on Monday. Xiaojun Chen, Dede Fredy and Chow Khai Shien died in October and late September. None had the right to training, proper safety gear or insurance because their companies deny them workplace and safety rights.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said riders want to see urgent change and noted the move by the NSW Government to set up a taskforce.
“This is a very sad time for delivery riders and anyone who works in road transport. A death of a worker will always send shockwaves throughput the community. The death of five workers in less than two months is devastating. Riders will today pay their respects to these riders and will also call for changes so that the carnage stops,” he said.
“The likes of Uber have been allowed to get away with trampling on workers’ right and risking their lives. Denying workers minimum rates, forcing them to race around to make enough to pay bills and threatening them with sacking if they are even a few minutes late is endangering workers. Workers urgently need minimum pay, training, proper protective gear and insurance,” Kaine said.
“It has taken four rider deaths in Sydney for the NSW Government to set up a taskforce. The State Government needs to get on with this taskforce and ensure workers are central to it. The Federal Government also needs to acknowledge its role. It’s not good enough that states are in a piecemeal way trying to address the problem these billion dollar global tech giants have created. We need the Federal Government to act and regulate,” he added.
A survey of delivery riders in September showed average earnings after costs was just over $10 an hour while almost 90% have seen their pay decrease and 70% say they are struggling to pay bills and buy food.
The pandemic has left the essential workers exposed with more than half saying they did not have enough masks, gloves and sanitiser.
More than one in three riders has been injured on the job, with the vast majority (80%) receiving no support from their company.
The TWU and former Deliveroo rider Diego Franco were in the Fair Work Commission on Monday fighting an unfair sacking by the company. Deliveroo say they sacked Mr Franco because he didn’t go fast enough with his deliveries.
On Friday the TWU will fight UberEats in the Federal Court over an Adelaide delivery driver sacked for being 10 minutes late.
The TWU is also assisting delivery riders in pursuing Deliveroo on its obligations under workplace heathy and safety laws.
The TWU won a case for unfair sacking against Foodora in 2018.