Recently we published an article on the political economy of Uber and the gig economy by Marxist historian Humphrey McQueen. A couple of days ago, the Victorian/Tasmanian branch of the Transport Workers Union supported Uber Eats and Deliveroo drivers when they rallied outside Deliveroo HQ in Melbourne to demand the big multinational company sign up to a delivery workers’ Charter of Rights.
Also attending the rally were members of the Worker-Student Alliance and we reprint with permission this account of the rally from their fakebook page - Editors.
(Above: Food delivery workers and supporters place demands on Deliveroo. Photo: Worker Student Alliance facebook page)
A crucial pillar of the gig economy in this modern age are up-and-coming food delivery services such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats who get away with wage theft and not compensating their workers for injuries sustained while working.
Billion dollar companies such as Deliveroo that have headquarters on the crowded end of Collins Street should not be able to give their CEOs bonuses, to pay out their shareholders and ignore the workers who make the excessive profits they make a reality.
These riders must endure peak-hour traffic, the contempt of dissatisfied customers and waiting times for meal preparation that they are not paid in recognition for.
The WSA stands with the TWU (Transport Workers’ Union) and with food delivery drivers. Many of these workers are international students who are suckered in by the rhetoric of these companies who label their work as self-employment. By this clever wording, Uber Eats and Deliveroo have sidestepped legislation such as awards and minimum wage laws that allow for workers to be safeguarded from exploitative practices by corporations, allowing them to pay workers as little as $6.00 AN HOUR.
In the face of ballooning costs of tertiary education, rent and bills, this is nowhere near enough.
They also avoid legislation on worker compensation, which is a massive deal for food delivery workers, with 1 in 4 workers suffering injuries while working such as in traffic accidents that lead to broken limbs. Moreover, according to the TWU, an average of $322 a week were ripped from the hands of these drivers and given back to their massive multinational employers! $322 is a huge deal for young adults, making the difference between living in poverty and not.
The dispute between these large multinational corporations is just another reminder of the nature of capitalism. Capitalism encourages a race-to-the-bottom in wages and conditions to make companies larger profits.
This always comes at the cost of working class people such as these food delivery drivers.
The WSA stands in solidarity with all workers in the gig economy and calls for an end to this system of massive exploitation!!