Two food delivery riders were killed in separate incidents in Sydney across the past week, according to horrific reports emerging this morning.
The Transport Workers Union has this morning confirmed that the two riders died in separate collisions while working for food delivery companies.
Dede Fredy died on Sunday, September 27th due to injuries sustained in a crash with a car three days earlier. Fredy was operating as an Uber Eats rider at the time.
Two days later, Xiaojun Chen was involved in a crash with a bus in Zetland while working for delivery service Hungry Panda. He subsequently passed away as a result of injuries sustained on Wednesday, September 30.
TWU officials are livid that SafeWork NSW was not made aware of the deaths until the union advised them. The union itself only learned of the deaths after receiving reports from other delivery riders days after both incidents occurred.
As a result, there is now pressure on both the NSW State Government and the Federal Government to push through legislative reform and new safety regulations that would strictly classify future deaths such as these as a workplace incident.
NSW Labor politicians last week introduced a bill to State Parliament that would provide delivery drivers with compulsory PPE equipment to help them navigate pandemic conditions. The TWU now wants that legislation adopted immediately as a bare minimum.
Per a press release, the TWU is also pushing the Federal Government to “urgently introduce safety regulation to prevent deaths in the gig economy, and to change the laws to make it absolutely clear that these are workplace deaths and must be investigated as such to stop them falling through the cracks.”
In a statement from an Uber spokesperson, the company asserted “This is a tragic incident, and we have been in contact with the family to offer our support. In Australia, Uber Eats delivery-partners are covered by a support package designed specifically for them, which includes insurance by Chubb should an accident or injury occur while they’re on trip. We also notified SafeWork NSW of this incident as soon as becoming aware of it, and have contacted NSW Police to offer any assistance we can.”
Recent surveys conducted by the TWU assert 73% of food delivery riders hold serious fears about being seriously hurt or killed while at work.