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Agreement signed on virus protection for food delivery workers

Leading delivery platform DoorDash and the Transport Workers’ Union have signed a landmark agreement on COVID-19 protections for DoorDash delivery riders and drivers in Australia.

The partnership aims to further DoorDash and TWU’s commitment to supporting delivery workers during the pandemic to ensure a safe and healthy environment, including financial assistance for those who have tested positive for the virus, those who have been instructed to self-isolate, and for those who are at high risk if they contract the virus.

The agreement will see DoorDash continue to provide masks, hand sanitiser, and gloves, while defaulting all deliveries to “no contact” and enabling riders and drivers to initiate no-contact deliveries, in a joint effort to enforce social-distancing guidelines.

Both organisations are calling on the rest of the food delivery industry to implement protections and help ensure the highest safety for both consumers and workers.

An ongoing dialogue between DoorDash and the TWU will focus on a broad range of issues affecting DoorDash riders and drivers, including insurance to cover riders and drivers injured on the job.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the joint stance was an important first step in giving workers in the gig economy the protections and benefits they need.

“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. We are pleased that DoorDash is at the forefront of changing the status quo and is working with us to stand with workers on virus protections,” he said.

“Through this joint agreement we want other companies to come on board to protect workers and we want State and Federal Governments to back the process. We believe that collaborating with DoorDash is an important step towards giving gig economy workers the rights and protections they deserve,” Michael added.

DoorDash CEO Tony Xu said the company remained committed to supporting riders, drivers and customers during the pandemic.

“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. We hope this meaningful agreement encourages other companies to take similar steps forward to protect workers and prioritize the wellbeing of our communities,” he said.

Igor Perino, a Sydney based DoorDash rider and member of the TWU’s Delivery Riders Alliance, said it was important for delivery workers to have protections.

“We are out every day and night working hard to deliver meals to people and we know there are serious risks,” he said.

Igor said there simply isn’t enough protections for riders and they mostly have to source their own masks, gloves and sanitizer on low salaries. He believes the agreement between Doordash and the TWU will help change this and urges the rest of the food delivery industry to follow this lead.

Uber was the first rideshare or online food delivery platform to introduce a COVID-19 compensation package.

“This compensation package introduced in early March provided financial assistance for driver and delivery partners who were instructed to self-isolate or those who tested positive. This was shortly after expanded to include those who were instructed to self-isolate due to pre-existing conditions,” A spokesperson told MHD Supply Chain News.

In march at the beginning of the pandemic, the company introduced contactless delivery in the Uber app and began a reimbursement program for hand sanitisers for delivery-partners.

Since 2018, food delivery company Uber Eats has had their delivery partners  insured by Chubb for on-trip accidents, providing different types of payments if they are injured and unable to work.

The TWU has previously signed agreements with Coles on safety and standards in the gig economy, for all transport workers and in the retail supply chain. The TWU also signed a charter with Woolworths on road transport supply chain standards.

A Victorian Government inquiry into the gig economy earlier this month published a report highlighting the need for change in the sector. The TWU welcomed the report and its call for the Federal Government to regulate the sector.

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