Coronavirus update for business: Deliveroo’s unfair dismissal stoush, David Jones sales dive, and shoppers return to centres

Deliveroo_gig economy

Deliveroo in legal strife… again

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) is working with a Deliveroo worker — who was allegedly sacked via email with just seven days notice — to file an unfair dismissal claim in the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

The forthcoming case is just the latest in an ongoing fight between the union and the meal delivery giant over the pay and conditions of its riders, which are classified as contractors with their own Australian Business Numbers (ABNs).

The union said the worker, Diego Franco, was sacked by Deliveroo via email in April because of slow deliveries.

“Diego and thousands of food delivery riders like him have been hailed as the heroes of the pandemic, allowing restaurants to stay open and people to self-isolate. But this is really a lie if he can be sacked by an anonymous email stating he’s being booted off the app,” TWU assistant national secretary Nick McIntosh said.

We’ll follow the case and let you know what the FWC has to say, but the relationship between Deliveroo and its riders is not a typical employment relationship, so there could be some grey area for the commission to adjudicate on.

David Jones sales dive 35%

The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the longstanding woes of department stores, and chief among them is David Jones, a beleaguered chain already struggling to remain relevant before everyone stopped going to the shops.

The retailer announced yesterday it would close some of its 48 stores and restructure almost half a billion dollars in debt, partly by selling off some property.

The South African-owned business said sales have plummeted by more than a third due to the pandemic, despite the retailer opting to remain open rather than closing stores as its rival Myer did.

Back to the mall?

In what could be good news for DJs and retailers across Australia, Roy Morgan has published new figures suggesting consumers are heading back to the shops in droves.

The data analysis and survey company has published some figures, segmented into some weird proprietary groups, which indicate a broad uptick in shopping centre traffic over the last few weeks, following a significant fall in April.

The analysis finds foot traffic has picked up week-on-week since the Easter long weekend and predictions are the pace of this growth will increase in the coming weeks as states continue to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

EU to release massive stimulus package

The European Union is planning a €750 billion ($1.2 trillion) stimulus package designed to support ailing economies in the region through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unveiled Wednesday, the money will be spent as part of a long-term budget and recovery plan. Most of the funds have been earmarked for grants to bloc member states, while a smaller amount will be comprised of loans.

Paolo Gentiloni, the EU commissioner for economy, described the package as a “turning point to face an unprecedented crisis”.

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