Riding a bike around the Wollongong CBD delivering food isn’t an easy way to make a few bucks.
The riders for Deliveroo – one delivery option operating in Wollongong – are a regular presence in the side street behind Wollongong Central as they wait for a job.
Sometimes they can wait for hours, according to one rider who chose to remain anonymous.
“Sometimes I get an order as soon as I sit down,” the rider said.
“Other times I have to sit one or two hours and in that time I’ll get one order.”
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When the rider started last year, they were paid an $18 hourly rate but that has dropped to $9 per delivery.
The rider said they logged in around 12 hours a week on Deliveroo, which included those hours sitting around earning nothing while waiting for an order.
“I cannot do anything,” the rider said of the low pay rates. “We complained but it did not work.”
The rider said they were looking for better jobs but the flexibility allowed them to combine delivery with study, compared to a shift-work situation where they would have turn up at a set time.
A Deliveroo spokeswoman disputed the rider’s statement that they were once being paid an hourly $18 rate, claiming the $9 per delivery fee had been in place “for years”.
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According to the rider, Deliveroo does supply insurance via a 5 per cent deduction in the riders’ earnings.
However they do not get sick leave and, if they had an accident while carrying out a delivery, would have to pay their own medical bills.
The Transport Workers Union is holding a protest in Sydney on Wednesday against companies like Deliveroo and UberEATS to highlight issues such as riders paid below minimum rates and missing out on sick or annual leave and super.
In the so-called “gig economy” delivery riders are usually considered independent contractors rather than workers, which means they get no super or leave.
The Deliveroo spokeswoman said riders have “WorkCover protection” while working and said costs for injuries on the job could be claimed through WorkCover.
She also said Deliveroo paid for riders’ insurance and the 5 per cent deduction claimed by the rider may be an fee charged to cover public liability and administration costs.
A spokeswoman for UberEATS said the platform provided flexibility.
“There is demand for more flexible, independent forms of work and digital technologies are opening up reliable, diverse and unprecedented opportunities for income generation - often for those who need it most,” she said.