Feb 4th, 2022
On Friday, the 28th of January, the Fair Work Commission made a decision on the status of delivery drivers, and Menulog’s application to create a new purpose-built award for them. The award would create protections specific to delivery drivers, and function as a landmark moment to guide other companies to reclassify these workers as employees.
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Last year, Menulog announced that it wanted to engage many of their riders in employment, in stark contrast to the rest of their competitors in the industry. They have long held that the lack of a minimum wage for these individuals engaged as contractors rather than employees can be inherently exploitative. As such, they contend that a new award is most appropriate, with new, dedicated rules of engagement for these delivery drivers.
This is belief is founded on the perspective that neither of two existing awards, the Road and Transport Distribution Award 2020, or the Fast Food Industry Award 2020, were specifically built to cater towards their delivery drivers and other workers in the on-demand industry. Their argument follows that the current industry in respect to on demand delivery drivers working for Menulog, or other companies like Deliveroo and UberEats, simply did no exist when the previous Awards were created.
However, the Fair Work Commission decided on Friday that delivery drivers such as those employed by Menulog should instead fall under the Road and Transport Distribution Award 2020, an award that does commonly cover truck drivers and couriers.
This falls in accordance with the Transport Workers Union’s (TWU) contention that the Road and Transport Distribution Award 2020 is already a suitable award to classify these delivery drivers under, and superior to the draft award proposed by Menulog.
As such, the TWU has celebrated the recent decision as a triumph, claiming that it confirms exactly what they have always known – these delivery drivers have the same rights and entitlements as other workers in the industry, and the decision will prevent them from being further exploited.
Menulog’s response has been much more subdued, and they are currently in the midst of determining a response. Following this, Menulog may seek to appeal and attempt again to convince the Fair Work Commission that a brand new award for the industry is more appropriate.
All in all, however, it is a significant step forward for employees in the industry.