Food delivery workers employed in the gig economy are earning just over $10 an hour on average after costs, according to a new Transport Workers Union (TWU) survey.
The union asked 200 gig economy workers employed by platforms such as Deliveroo, UberEats and DoorDash about their working conditions during the pandemic, and the results were pretty grim.
Almost 90% of drivers said their pay had decreased during the pandemic, despite skyrocketing demand for food delivery, while 70% said they are struggling to pay their bills and buy their own food.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said 73% of respondents believe they should be engaged as employees rather than contractors, which would afford them compulsory loadings and other entitlements.
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“It is a shameful indictment of our system that the workers who allow people to receive food while self-isolating at home and who help restaurants to stay in business are treated in this way,” Kaine said in a statement.
Gig economy platforms have swelled since the pandemic began in Australia, with restaurants looking for partners to help keep their businesses going, but the TWU maintains drivers are getting the short end of the stick.
The average hourly wage reported by survey respondents was $10.42, well short of the $19.84 minimum set by the Fair Work Commission earlier this year.
A further 51% of respondents said they had not been provided sufficient personal protective equipment during the pandemic, including masks, sanitisers and gloves.
The gig economy platforms have said they are outlaying thousands of items of PPE to contractors, while COVID-19 financial assistance has been provided to those who are required to self-isolate by authorities.
Meanwhile, in NSW, the Labor opposition is preparing to introduce a bill that would force delivery platforms to provide PPE to drivers, although the legislation is unlikely to pass.