But riders will only receive a portion of their outstanding entitlements since their claims reached almost $8 million. Over 3,800 riders failed to make claims, meaning the extent of the wage theft runs to even more millions of dollars.
Foodora’s parent company Delivery Hero offered just $3 million to settle with its riders, after it appointed external administrators and announced it was exiting Australia. The amount left after the administrators’ costs is $2.27 million. Riders will therefore receive around 29 cents in the dollar for their claims and will also pay tax on wage underpayments.
Foodora’s admission of underpayment followed protests and exposés by riders and the TWU over appalling conditions at Foodora. Audits by the ATO and Revenue NSW also revealed the underpayments.
The biggest known underpayment claim by a single rider was over $120,000.
“This is an important day for workers in the on-demand economy worldwide. Delivery riders in Australia have shown that when they stand together and take on some of the biggest tech giants in the world, they can win. The fact that they didn’t get all of their entitlements is an indictment on the Federal Government, which has failed at every step to hold this company and the entire on-demand economy to account over ripping off workers,” said Tony Sheldon, TWU’s on-demand coordinator.
“The Federal Government also must be held to account over the wage theft which continues daily with companies like Uber, Deliveroo, Menulog and others. The Government knows this is occurring and knows that not only are workers being ripped off but so too are taxpayers, through non-payment of payroll and related taxes. Yet it still refuses to regulate this sector. The Government is choosing to side with tech billions in the shiny towers of Silicon Valley, rather than side with hard working people and taxpayers in Australia,” he added.
“The administrator’s Worrells should be congratulated on this outcome. They worked hard to contact as many riders as possible and gave them information and support on making their claims,” Sheldon added.
Josh Klooger, a former Foodora food delivery rider who won an unfair dismissal case against the company, said the pay-out was an important win for riders. “This is a great win for riders. But it should have been more. It is now time for other on-demand economy companies to comply,” he said.
Riders for foodora and other companies have spoken out about:
- being forced to work shifts without any guaranteed wages
- no wages or compensation if they are beaten or injured while working
- being forced to work a “hunger games” system, which means they lose ratings and priority shifts during busy periods if they get injured or take leave
- no support when they suffer physical, verbal, sexual or racial abuse
Hundreds of on-demand workers in Australia have protested over low pay and appalling conditions over the past year, including this week when drivers and delivery riders protested outside Uber’s offices ahead of the company’s public sale.
A survey of riders carried out last year has shown three out of every four riders are paid below minimum rates. Almost 50% of riders had either been injured on the job or knew someone who had. Three delivery riders have been killed in Australia which working.