We hear food delivery service Deliveroo offered its drivers extra pay to continue to work through the wild storms buffeting NSW over the weekend. After a tweet from Junkee opinion and politics editor Alex McKinnon asking people to avoid engaging delivery services such as Foodora and Deliveroo during the storms (“don’t endanger people for your own convenience”), a Deliveroo driver replied, “thanks for your concern man, we’ve been told we can go home if we want and will be paid extra if we stay (deliveroo)”.
Deliveroo engages drivers (who make their deliveries using bikes or scooters) as subcontractors rather than employees. Contractors are, in essence, their own businesses, according to the law– meaning no minimum rates of pay, no protection from unfair dismissal, and no insurance unless they get their own. In this instance, the arrangement also raises questions about Deliveroo’s legal responsibility to ensure their drivers’ safety, and the drivers’ ability to refuse work they feel is unsafe.