July 17, 2019
The Transport Workers’ Union is calling for regulation on how Uber treats its workers, including how it makes food delivery riders responsible when customers complain, after the ACCC found a “significant imbalance” in its contracts with restaurants.
The ACCC investigation has forced UberEats to stop making restaurants pay for customer refunds and to allow restaurants to dispute unfair terms. UberEats must also admit in contracts that it is a transport operator.
“This is a welcome investigation by the ACCC which will help protect our local businesses against the Silicon Valley billion-dollar behemoth. The contracts Uber has with its workers are also crying out for regulation. Workers can get terminated without warning or the chance to appeal if there are complaints about food deliveries. If restaurants can be protected over customer complaints and when disputes arise then why not workers? The ACCC is rightly defending restaurants over Uber’s bullying behavior while the Federal Government continues to allow workers in Australia to get abused and ripped off,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“Uber has been forced to admit that it provides transport services and we demand that it gives its transport workers the rights they deserve. Uber’s contracts with its workers do not provide minimum rates or even guaranteed pay; they are constructed so workers can be sacked without warning or the right to appeal; the insurance for when workers are injured on the job is woefully inadequate. Just like the contracts with restaurants, workers’ contracts are also significantly imbalanced – with workers taking all of the liability and risk with the job and Uber assuming little responsibility,” Kaine added.
A TWU survey of food delivery riders in Australia shows three out of every four are paid below minimum rates. Almost 50% of riders had either been injured on the job or knew someone who had. Three UberEats riders have been killed while working.
In May rideshare drivers in Australia took part in a day of global protest against Uber while food delivery riders delivered an invoice to Uber offices in Sydney for unpaid wages and superannuation.
In November, a former Foodora food delivery rider Josh Klooger supported by the TWU won an unfair dismissal case against the company, after he was sacked for speaking out about rates and conditions. Recently, almost 1,700 riders received back-pay totalling nearly $2.3 million after Foodora was forced to admit it was underpaying their wages and refusing them superannuation.
A survey by the TWU and Rideshare Drivers’ Cooperative of over 1,100 rideshare drivers last October showed the average pay is just $16 per hour before fuel, insurance and other costs are taken out. One in 10 drivers has been physically assaulted while 6% have been sexually assaulted. Workers responding to the survey said they faced death threats from passengers towards them and their families, rape threats, sexual assault, being punched in the face, held at knifepoint, had their car windows broken, their cars stolen and have received racial abuse. Almost two-thirds of drivers have had false reports by passengers.