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UberEats riders protest unsafe, unfair working conditions at parliament

UberEats delivery drivers and riders protested at parliament yesterday demanding better pay and more safety measures after a number of deaths in the past few weeks.

“There is palpable anger among food delivery riders that something has got to change. Three UberEats riders were killed over just a few weeks and yet Uber continues to push its workers to sweat and chase every dollar by slashing rates,” said Transport Workers Union assistant national secretary Nick McIntosh.

“Riders have no rights to a minimum rate, work injury insurance or safety gear… the jobs are unsafe and the system is unfair.”

According to the TWU, a survey of delivery riders in September found they earned on average, after costs, $10 an hour – almost half of the minimum wage of $19.84 an hour. Additionally, 90 per cent of respondents said they have had their pay cut, and didn’t have enough masks, gloves and sanitiser during peak periods.

UberEats’ parent company, Uber, was recently taken to the federal court by former rider Amita Gupta on the rounds she was unfairly dismissed after arriving 10 minutes late with a food delivery.

During a hearing, Uber denied it had responsibility for delivery riders as they aren’t employees – a claim that was backed by a decision by the Fair Work Commission in April, 2020.

However, when the business stated its claim that it is not a transportation business but a technology business that facilitates dealings between restaurants and riders, the presiding Judges disagreed.

“Uber has a longstanding reputation, if you like, in the transport business”, said one Judge.

“The very name Uber would convey to the ordinary person some form of transportation service; wouldn’t it?”

Ian Niel, an employment lawyer working on behalf of Uber in the case, said they didn’t agree.

Edit: This story originally said Uber was forced to settle the federal court case with Amita Gupta. The business has clarified it was not forced to settle.

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