Uber Eats delivery riders rally in Sydney

Heather McNab

Food delivery riders and union representatives have staged a rally outside Uber headquarters in Sydney to call for better work conditions and fair wages for riders.

They delivered a mock invoice to Uber on Tuesday afternoon, calling for what they say is millions of dollars in unpaid wages, superannuation, sick leave, annual leave and compensation for injuries on the job.

Paulo, who has worked for both Uber and Deliveroo, spoke about the tough conditions of being a food delivery rider.

"It's very dangerous work. I broke my hand and the surgery put seven pins in my hand...," Paulo told the rally.

"Deliveroo and also UberEats are decreasing the payment per each delivery. One year ago it was $14, six months ago it was $10, now it's $8, maybe next week it's going to be $6," he said.

"I don't think I deserve [to be] paid less, because this work is hard work, we have to work in the rain, we have to work in the worst conditions."

The Transport Workers Union's national secretary Tony Sheldon called for an end to wage theft in Australia.

"We're saying to Uber and other delivery companies that 18th-century working conditions through an app is not trendy, it's not technologically advanced, it's ripping people off," Mr Sheldon told the rally.

"Working people in the gig economy deserve to get wages and conditions the rest of the community expects, they expect a fair go, not an orgy of greed that occurs now in the gig economy when it comes to food delivery and rideshare."

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus said Australia's workplace laws have not kept up with technological change.

"We will see our rights move back two centuries if we don't move to upgrade our laws," Ms McManus told the rally.

Uber Eats ANZ regional general manager Jodie Auster said delivery partners tell the company they value the freedom of being their own boss.

"However, being your own boss does not need to come at the expense of security and support in work," Ms Auster said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We believe that everyone should have access to a set of affordable and reliable social protections, whatever category of employment they are in," she said.

Ms Auster pointed to recent investments in a support package for Uber workers who are injured or get into an accident.

Uber is interested in working on reforms including modernising protections for independent workers, and providing greater support for learning, she said.

It comes as up to 5500 former Foodora riders are set to discover this week how much back-pay they will end up with.

Foodora quit Australia in August owing riders and the tax office more than $8 million.

Its parent company, global food delivery giant Delivery Hero, later wrote a cheque for $3 million, which will be distributed on Friday to those riders who have contacted the company's administrators.