Transport Industry News

Transport Workers Union Calls for Urgent Reform After Death of Food Delivery Rider in Sydney

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) is urging urgent reform in the transport industry following the death of a food delivery rider in Sydney, highlighting the lack of rights and safety protections for gig workers in the sector.

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has heightened its calls for urgent transport industry reform following the death of a food delivery rider in Sydney on Saturday.

The TWU says the tragic incident is the 12th food delivery rider known to have been killed in Australia since 2017, though underreporting of these incidents as workplace deaths indicates the death toll associated with this work is likely much higher.

News reports confirm a 22-year-old motorcyclist was killed in Epping, Sydney following a crash at 8pm, however it was passing food delivery riders who identified that this was a employee working for food delivery company Fantuan.

The TWU will report this to SafeWork NSW as a workplace incident, although it is companies that are obliged to report any workplace death within 48 hours. The TWU has previously reported the death of food delivery rider Burak Dogan upon learning of the tragedy more than a year after his death.

There is currently no system in Australia to provide transport gig workers with rights like minimum wage, sick leave, workers’ compensation or protection from unfair contract terminations, which often leads to unsafe driving.

A McKell survey of more than 1,000 transport gig workers recently revealed almost half earn less than minimum wage, rising to 66 per cent for those working full-time hours.

The TWU says a quarter had experienced the instant job loss of ‘deactivation’ from the app which usually occurs when the algorithm deems the worker too slow or follows a customer complaint, with no investigation into its truthfulness and no right of reply.

More than half of food delivery riders reported feeling pressured to rush and take risks to make enough money and avoid deactivation. Just over a third of food delivery riders reported that they’d been injured at work.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine says lifesaving transport reform is urgent.

“Our thoughts are with the rider’s loved ones after this horrific tragedy. Although no sum of money can compensate for this loss, grieving families of transport gig workers are twice wronged – first from the absence of rights that causes pressure to rush and take risks to pay the bills, and second from the denial of rights like workers’ compensation. The TWU will do everything within our power to get some justice for the family,” Kaine says.

“Pressure to work long hours and at high speed to make enough money and avoid being sacked by an algorithm is killing workers in this country.

“The task of removing the pressure on transport gig workers through reform to set fair, safe and sustainable standards in transport will soon be before Federal Parliament. We urge every politician to use their vote to pass this lifesaving reform into law without delay.”

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