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Minimum pay and hours demand for food delivery riders

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Three in four food delivery riders surveyed in Sydney and Melbourne said they were paid below the minimum wage, prompting a national campaign for regulation of the on-demand economy.

The Transport Workers Union survey found many riders were underpaid, had been injured on the job without insurance cover or sick pay and had worked more than 40 hours a week.

Of the 160 delivery riders who were interviewed in person and online in Melbourne and Sydney in recent weeks, three in four said they were paid below the minimum award wage.


One in four riders surveyed said they worked full-time hours and more than a quarter said they worked more than 40 hours a week.


Half said they or someone they knew had been injured on the job and three out of four said they should get entitlements such as sick leave.

Transport Workers Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon said riders were crying out for guaranteed hours, fair rates of pay, rain gear, work cover, sick pay and insurance for their bikes.

The union will on Wednesday join the ACTU, Victorian Trades Hall, Unions NSW to launch a campaign for greater regulation of the industry.

Joellen Riley, Professor of Labour Law and Dean at the University of Sydney Law School, who will address the campaign launch in Melbourne, said the TWU survey findings were based on a small sample but the high proportion of respondents who had reported being underpaid was a "concern".

She said the findings were consistent with other academic papers from around the world.

"This particular survey confirms the kind of research that you see across the world from other jurisdictions in this kind of industry and in all forms of on-demand work," she said.

"The unpaid time between jobs is the thing that brings the hourly rates down."

On-demand workers are not protected under the Fair Work system because they are defined as contractors as opposed to employees.

Professor Riley said special regulation of on-demand work was needed to improve safety standards and minimum pay rates.

"There will be some tragedies [that] happen if we don't begin looking at that particular work and thinking about the best way to make sure there is some protection for those workers," she said.

Deliveroo said it offers "flexible well-paid work" to more than 3,600 self-employed riders across Australia.

"Riders can choose where and when they ride with us, and are also free to ride with other delivery companies. Ninety one per cent of our riders tell us they choose this kind of work because of its flexibility," a spokeswoman said.

"The average earnings for riders across the country is above the national minimum wage, and we take great care to inform riders about how they can maximise their earnings with our platform."

The spokeswoman said the safety of its rider partners was "core" to its business.

"Which is why Deliveroo provides WorkCover for all riders in Australia and has done so since the launch of the company," the spokeswoman said.

"The on-boarding process we run is very focused on learning safe riding practices and we regularly send out safety alerts to remind riders of road safety or warn of weather conditions."

An Uber spokeswoman said there was demand for more flexible, independent forms of work.

"Digital technologies are opening up reliable, diverse and unprecedented opportunities for income generation - often for those who need it most," she said.

"Delivery partner earnings vary depending on when and where partners choose to deliver.

"Uber works closely with delivery partners to provide them additional information about where and when the most profitable times to deliver on the platform occur.