- Food delivery company DoorDash has entered an agreement with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) on a range of protections for workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- This includes financial assistance for workers who contract the virus and insurance for injuries on the job.
- The TWU hopes the move will encourage other companies to do the same.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
Food delivery company DoorDash has partnered with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) on a range of protections for delivery drivers in Australia during the coronavirus pandemic.
The US based food delivery company launched in Australia in 2019, joining the likes of Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Menulog.
Its new agreement with the TWU features five main practices to support delivery workers.
This includes financial assistance to be given to workers who test positive for the coronavirus, have been told to self-isolate, are at high risk if they contract the virus or have a housemate who fits at least one of those criteria. It means two weeks of earnings should be available to workers in that situation.
Also included in the agreement is insurance for delivery drivers injured while on the job, no contact deliveries done by default, and continued distribution of personal safety equipment like masks, hand sanitiser and gloves to drivers.
Plus, both TWU and DoorDash have committed to have ongoing discussions both during the pandemic and after it to address any issues that arise among workers.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine considered the agreement a major step forward to giving workers the protections they need.
“Food delivery workers are essential frontline workers who allow businesses to stay open and people to eat safely while under lock-down,” he said in a statement. “These workers need protections to keep them safe and they need to be paid when they can’t work due to COVID-19. In too many cases these protections are absent.”
Kaine also called on other companies to support gig economy workers.
“Through this joint agreement we want other companies to come on board to protect workers and we want Sstate and federal governments to back the process,” he added. “We believe that collaborating with DoorDash is an important step towards giving gig economy workers the rights and protections they deserve.”
DoorDash CEO Tony Xu said in a statement it was important for the company to support its drivers.
“The work that Dashers do every day to deliver meals to families in need is nothing short of extraordinary, and we’re proud to be part of this groundbreaking agreement with the TWU,” he said.
Deliveroo has already rolled out measures to support riders during the pandemic. In March, it introduced a support fund for riders where they can get financial help if they experience symptoms of COVID-19 or are told to self-isolate. At the start of the pandemic, the company handed out free masks and hand sanitiser to riders.
More recently, Deliveroo unveiled a one-off initiative in Victoria and New South Wales where riders can be reimbursed up to $20 for the purchase of masks or face coverings. It also has contactless pickup and deliveries.
“The safety of our riders and the public is of paramount importance and since our inception we’ve provided free personal injury and income protection insurance and free public liability insurance to all Deliveroo riders,” a Deliveroo spokesperson told Business Insider Australia via email.
Since 2018, Uber Eats delivery drivers have been insured by Chubb for accidents on the job. Uber was also the first rideshare or online food delivery platform to roll out a COVID-19 compensation package back in March, where drivers would be provided financial assistance if they tested positive or had to self isolate. Plus, Uber has contactless delivery and a reimbursement program for hand sanitisers among their drivers.
In April, DoorDash became the first food delivery company to slash the commission fees it charges to businesses by half in a bid to support them during the pandemic.
“By providing over 80% of restaurants on the DoorDash platform in Australia with a 50% commission reduction, we’re focusing this most recent relief effort on those most vulnerable: local businesses,” DoorDash’s Australian general manager Thomas Stephens said in a statement at the time.
DoorDash isn’t the only company the TWU has signed agreements with. The union signed an agreement with Coles on safety standards in the gig economy, for transport workers and in the retail supply chain. And it signed a charter with Woolworths on standards in the road transport supply chain.
The TWU and DoorDash agreement comes after the Victorian government released a report into the gig economy in the state. The report issued a series of recommendations on how the system can be fairer to workers such as clarifying the status of workers and creating a support agency to help workers with disputes.
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