Food delivery riders protest work conditions, pay

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Food delivery riders have rallied in Sydney demanding better wages and conditions from the technology giants running the services.

Food delivery drivers are demanding better pay and working conditions, with a crowd gathering in Sydney on Wednesday to protest. 

The Transport Worker's Union organised the rally which follows a similar protest in Melbourne at the end of January.

A union survey found three out of four food delivery riders are paid below the minimum wage

Almost half said they or someone they knew had been injured on the job.

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said better regulation is needed for the food delivery industry. 

Transport Workers Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon at the protest in Sydney.
Transport Workers Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon at the protest in Sydney.
AAP

Two foodora cyclists have lodged unfair dismal claims with the Fair Work Commission. 

One believes he was sacked for taking an overseas holiday, while another had raised concerns about lower pay. 

About 15,000 food delivery riders are regularly on the road. The average age of riders is just under 26 and many are international students.

Four accidents in 18 months

Canadian student Patrick Psotka was attracted to the flexibility of working as a Deliveroo driver but says that's changed.

Patrick Psotka checks his phone for delivery orders.
Patrick Psotka checks his phone for delivery orders.
SBS World News

"We now have to schedule a week in advance when we want to work so it's really taken away the flexibility just to log in whenever and do delivers," Mr Psotka said. 

The 24-year-old has been knocked off his bike twice and hit by car doors twice in the last 18 months.

"I got knocked off my bike, I got doored by a car and you know we don't get paid if we're not working so I just bounced back up, just kept on doing deliveries because that's the reality of our job. When we're not working, we're not doing deliveries, we're not getting paid."

He only works during peak times, rather than take the risk of earning nothing during the quieter periods. 

He's one of a growing number of riders hoping the big companies hear their calls for a fair go.

"I'd like to see the riders come together and start to stand up for some of our rights that have been taken away from us."

Food companies say riders enjoy flexibility, deny exploitation

All three major food delivery services said they are committed to the safety of their delivery partners.

A spokeswoman for foodora said its riders are engaged as "contractors" who can accept and reject orders as they wish.

"The nature of the contractor status there are no guarantees in terms of an hourly rate."

"No foodora contractor is or has ever been penalised for taking time off work if their absence is registered or communicated via the appropriate channels." 

Deliveroo said its riders earn about $10 per delivery, plus tips and typically complete 3-4 deliveries per hour during peak times. 

The company wants the laws changed to better accommodate its flexible work model suggesting "benefits should be accrued on the basis of work performed...rather than the duration of work completed."

An UberEats spokeswoman said "earnings vary depending on when and where partners choose to deliver."

"Delivery partners tell us they choose Uber because of the flexibility the app provides in letting them earn money in hours that suit them and their families."

 

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