A food delivery rider in Sydney who was reportedly sacked by Deliveroo via email says he was given no chance to respond despite working for the company for three years.
The Transport Workers Union has filed a case with the Fair Work Commission arguing Diego Franco now struggles to pay rent while supporting his wife and young daughter.
Mr Franco says he received an email from Deliveroo in April stating he had taken significantly longer than was reasonable to deliver food to a customer. He was given seven-days' notice.
The motorcyclist says he wasn't given a chance to respond and there was no human interaction during his dismissal.
Mr Franco was joined by TWU assistant secretary Nick McIntosh and Labor senator Tony Sheldon on Wednesday in Sydney.
"I tried to convince them otherwise or email them back saying I wasn't aware of the issue ... but I had no chance to do it," Mr Franco told reporters.
"I was working for over three years, performing well, and then just one email that all ends. It was my only source of income."
Mr McIntosh said many gig-economy workers provided an essential service by allowing the community to remain safe at home.
"Diego is one of those unsung heroes of the COVID crisis who has allowed people to self-isolate at home," Mr McIntosh said.
"He's allowed restaurants to keep operating by delivering vital food."
Deliveroo on Wednesday said when a rider does not meet the service standards they signed up to they are investigated and notified.
"In this instance, the contract was ended because a high number of orders delivered by the rider were taking significantly longer to reach our customers than would reasonably be expected," the company said in a statement.
Deliveroo said Mr Franco was told of the concerns over his delivery times before his employment was terminated and it would not be reinstating his contract.
"Ending a contract is extremely rare, impacting four per cent of riders each year," the company said.
The TWU and Senator Sheldon are calling on the federal government to regulate the gig economy and ensure workers receive basic conditions including "decent wages" and having "a tribunal to go to" to resolve disputes.
The TWU says many gig workers are paid less than the minimum wage and don't receive annual leave, sick pay or superannuation.
The case comes after the TWU filed an appeal in the Federal Court following the Fair Work Commission's rejection of an Uber Eats driver's unfair dismissal claim.
The commission said the driver was not an employee of Uber Eats and was therefore not protected.
Australian Associated Press
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