News Uber Eats vows to improve rider safety after another delivery cyclist killed

Uber Eats vows to improve rider safety after another delivery cyclist killed

Emergency services arrived to find the deceased delivery driver just after 6.40pm on Monday night. Photo: ABC News
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Uber Eats has admitted the industry needs to do more to improve worker safety, in the wake of another death of a food delivery rider in inner Sydney overnight.

The Uber Eats cyclist died after being hit by a truck carrying an excavator in Redfern on Monday night.

Five delivery riders have died nationally in the past three months.

Four of those were in New South Wales: Xiaojun Chen was working for Hungry Panda and Dede Fredy was working for Uber Eats when they died following collisions in late September.

Meanwhile, 27-year-old Uber Eats worker Bijoy Paul died on Saturday afternoon after being involved in a crash with a car at Rockdale in Sydney’s south.

Lihong Wei (left) is fighting for delivery driver rights after the death of her husband Xiaojun Chen. Photo: ABC/Lihong Wei

In a statement, a spokesperson for Uber Eats said the incident was concerning in the context of recent deaths.

“On Monday evening we learned the incredibly sad news that an Uber Eats delivery partner had passed away following a road accident in the Sydney CBD,” the spokesperson said.

“We notified Safework NSW and contacted our insurance team about the incident. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this time.

“In isolation this fatality is devastating … but when considered alongside other recent incidents across the on-demand food delivery sector, it is all the more concerning.

“It is clear the industry needs to do more to improve road safety, and we are committed to playing a leading role in achieving this.”

People working for Hungry Panda and Uber Eats have been killed on the job in the last three months. Photo: ABC News/Jack Fisher

Transport Workers Union National Secretary Michael Kaine said regulation of the industry, including reviewing the work status of riders, was urgently needed.

“We were just doing an awareness campaign about Bijoy Paul, literally doing media yesterday evening when we got news through of the police report about another death,” he said.

“This is a sector that’s totally unregulated.

“You have these massive companies who force these workers to be classified as independent contractors and that means they don’t get the same protections that other employees across the economy enjoy.

“The result of that is they’re not trained, they don’t have appropriate protective equipment, they are not provided with the safety systems that other workers are provided.

“We really need governments, the State Government, but particularly the Federal Government to step up and acknowledge this and deal with the consequences.”

Transport and Roads Minister Andrew Constance has told 2GB his department would have discussions with the food delivery companies.

“If people are riding around, particularly at night, they have an obligation to make sure they are wearing high visibility jackets, they’ve obviously got to have the requisite lighting in terms of the bike,” he said.

“They themselves should obviously be putting protective and high vis clothes on.

“We will have a discussion between transport and these companies to see what we can do in that regard.”

Opposition spokesman for the gig economy Daniel Mookhey said a “massive crisis” was unfolding in the sector and he expected it to worsen over summer.

“No one who is ordering food through an app expects the rider to die on the job; we need the State Government to act and we need the State Government to act now,” he said.

“These companies are on notice that their social license is at risk if more people continue to die at work.

“This would not be acceptable in any other industry.

“To lose two people in three days would galvanise any other industry to act decisively to end the safety crisis.”