Another food delivery rider has been tragically killed in Sydney overnight, marking the second death in three days and the fifth in Australia in the last two months.
The accident occurred in Sydney’s Surry Hills on Monday night when the cyclist – who was driving for Uber Eats – was involved in a collision at the intersection of Chalmers and Cleveland streets at approximately 6:40 pm. Unfortunately, the man died at the scene.
Uber said the death was “devastating”, and said it was clear the industry needs to do more to improve road safety.
“On Monday evening we learned the incredibly sad news that an Uber Eats delivery partner had passed away following a road accident in the Sydney CBD,” an Uber Eats spokesperson told PEDESTRIAN.TV.
“We notified Safework NSW and contacted our insurance team about the incident. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this time.”
“In isolation this fatality is devastating. But when considered alongside other recent incidents across the on demand food delivery sector, it is all the more concerning. It is clear the industry needs to do more to improve road safety, and we are committed to playing a leading role in achieving this.”
In even more tragic news, the death comes just two days after Bijoy Paul, another delivery rider, was hit and killed by a car in Sydney while delivering for Uber Eats on Saturday.
The two tragedies in one week have reignited the conversation around delivery workers’ rights in Australia.
Since September 27, an average of one food delivery driver has died at work every 11 days in Australia. But unfortunately, these workers aren’t covered by the same rights to insurance and compensation for injuries or death in the workplace.
“They have no right to insurance and when they get injured or die, it’s at the discretion of their companies as to whether they and their families get supported,” Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine said on Sunday.
Basically, because food delivery app workers are considered “independent contractors”, rather than employees under Australian labour laws, they aren’t covered by the same protections as everyone else.
This means that they’re not entitled to sick or annual leave, workers compensation, or even minimum wage, among countless other things.
“This means that they’re not entitled to sick or annual leave, workers compensation, or even minimum wage, among countless other things. (Uber Eats covers drivers and riders under the company’s insurance program.)
According to the TWU, this means that food delivery drivers earn as little as $10.42 per hours after accounting for costs like fuel.
But more concerningly, 73% of TWU surveyed workers are scared of being “seriously hurt or killed” on the job.
Ultimately, it comes down to the regulation of the industry as a whole, which has so far been largely unregulated by the government.
“Two deaths in three days is unacceptable. A massive safety crisis is unfolding in the gig economy. It will get worse over summer,” Labor chair of an NSW parliamentary inquiry into gig work Daniel Mookhey told SMH.
“No one ordering food through an app expects their rider to die on the job. Everyone who goes to work has the right to come home safe.”