Food delivery death ‘carnage’ awful: union

The Transport Workers’ Union is warning the “carnage” of food delivery rider deaths will likely continue without some regulation of the gig economy.

A cyclist was hit by a truck and killed in Redfern on Monday evening, the second delivery rider to die in Sydney in the past three days.

On Saturday, 27-year old Bijoy Paul, from Bangladesh, died after he was hit by a car in the southern Sydney suburb of Rockdale while delivering for Uber Eats.

Five food delivery riders across Sydney and Melbourne have been killed in the past three months while working amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance on Tuesday said his department would discuss the matter with food delivery companies but advised riders and drivers to avoid using mobile phones and to wear Hi-Vis jackets.

However, TWU national secretary Michael Kaine is demanding the federal government establish a tribunal to investigate gig economy work.

Delivery riders were receiving on average half the minimum wage and weren’t adequately covered by workplace health and safety rules, he said.

“We said to (Attorney-General) Christian Porter that he needs to step up, set up an urgent inquiry to investigate Uber Eats and other gig delivery platforms, because otherwise this carnage will just continue,” Mr Kaine told reporters.

“These companies don’t care whether riders live or die. All they care about is getting food delivered on time.

“These companies don’t train riders. These companies don’t provide appropriate and proper protective equipment.”

The NSW Labor opposition said the delivery drivers’ deaths had revealed a safety crisis in the gig economy.

Labor’s gig economy spokesman Daniel Mookhey said the NSW government needed to implement gig economy workplace health and safety laws.

“A massive safety crisis is unfolding in the gig economy. It will get worse over summer,” Mr Mookhey said in a statement.

“No industry should be left to write their own rules.”

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