Investigations

Former Foodora rider wins $16k in landmark unfair dismissal case

0:00

Joshua Klooger alleged he was dismissed after raising public concerns about his pay from Foodora, which has since closed its Australian operations.

The Fair Work Commission has ruled a Melbourne-based delivery rider was unfairly dismissed after speaking publically about his pay and working conditions.

Joshua Klooger, 28, began working for Foodora in Melbourne in 2016 and was dismissed in March 2018.

On Friday, the commission ordered Foodora to pay their former employee $16,000.

Josh Klooger
Josh Klooger says he was unfairly dismissed from Foodora.
SBS News

“I was dismissed for speaking out about the low wages the riders were getting, Foodora fired me for that,” Mr Klooger said in a press conference.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) says the case will have broader ramifications for the whole gig-economy.  

“This is a business model used by these app-based companies to steal workers' rights,” TWU’s national secretary Tony Sheldon said. 

A Foodora delivery rider at a protest in Sydney.
A Foodora delivery rider at a protest about alleged underpayment in Sydney.
AAP

The TWU has previously criticised Foodora over leaked internal emails which allegedly showed the company was aware it was engaging in “sham-contracting”.

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

The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal proceedings against Foodora’s “sham contracting” in June this year. 

Foodora closed its Australian operations in August amidst multiple lawsuits.

In a statement released at the time, the company said it was ending operations "in response to a shift in focus towards other markets where the company sees a higher potential for growth".

Former delivery riders for the company in Australia are seeking $8.5 million in alleged unpaid wages and workers compensation from Foodora's parent German company Delivery Hero.

The administrators of Foodora last week admitted they “more likely than not” owed workers up to $5 million because of misclassifying them as independent contractors.

Riders and creditors today voted to approve a $3 million payment for riders who had been underpaid, misclassified and not given superannuation.

SBS News has contacted Foodora for comment.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch