Deliveroo at odds with Senate recommendations

Last week, the Senate recommended that the Australian Government create a long-term plan to prepare the Australian workforce for coming technological changes and the rise of nonstandard employment – also known as the gig economy.

Under these recommendations, gig economy workers would be reclassified as employees rather than independent contractors as they currently are, affording them the full protection and benefits of Australia’s employment laws.

However, Deliveroo fears that should these changes come to pass, it could rob the delivery chain’s riders of the flexibility they value.

“We do not believe that this is the right solution as this is not what riders want,” a Deliveroo spokesperson told IRW regarding the recommendations.

“Ninety-one per cent of riders tell us that flexibility is the number one reason they choose to ride with us. If we were to remove the flexibility that comes with selfemployment, fewer people would want to ride with us, which would be bad for riders, customers and restaurants alike.”

The spokesperson went on to note that the company believes regulations should evolve to enable riders the flexibility they want while
also delivering the benefits they deserve.

“At present there is a trade-off between the two, and we think this should end,” the spokesperson said.

The Senate report noted that as the Australian population grows, and the number of workers moving into non-standard employment rises, these changes become more and more important.

“Casual work, labour hire, sham contracting, the gig economy – these have all become terms which are familiar to growing numbers of Australians,” the report reads.

“But they are more than mere words. They are familiar forms of work which, in certain guises, reduce workers rights and protections, and often deny workers access to basic rights and conditions that workers and unions have fought hard for.”

The working conditions of gig economy riders have become a hot topic as of late, with protests across Melbourne and Sydney calling for food delivery companies to stop exploiting and underpaying workers.

The Victorian government announced an investigation into these claims earlier this week, chaired by former Fair Work ombudsman Natalie James.

“Australia is crying out for an evidenceled, independent examination of the work arrangement in the gig and on-demand economies,” James said.

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