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Hungry Panda turnaround is the latest victory for gig workers

news 15 Mar 2021

Hungry Panda riders in Australia are the latest gig economy workers to win better working rights.

After weeks of protests over a pay cut which saw over half of Hungry Panda riders in Australia join the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU), the food delivery company has agreed to several changes.

This historic win includes reinstating two riders who were terminated for protesting pay cuts, restoring pay to previous levels or increasing it in other areas, introducing an injury insurance package for all riders and removing the performance management tier classification system. Hungry Panda has also committed to ongoing negotiations with TWU and riders to resolve safety and rating issues.

“Across the world, we are seeing the tide turn in favour of gig workers,” said Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary, noting recent legal victories in Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK that have recognised worker-employer relationships. The European Commission is meanwhile undertaking consultations around the rights of workers in the gig economy, which could result in confirming their entitlement to similar employment rights to traditionally employed workers.

Deliveroo riders last week formed a global network to highlight the company’s exploitative business model to investors ahead of its upcoming IPO. The #Rights4Riders network, which is supported by the ITF, is demanding improvements to rider safety, conditions and pay.

“For too long, platform companies have exploited a lack of regulation to generate billions of dollars of value at the expense of workers,” said Cotton. “This latest victory at Hungry Panda shows how much power there is in riders coming together to organise. We applaud Hungry Panda riders and our affiliate TWU for this important victory.”

The ITF will continue to support riders across the world in demanding better and safer work, and to lobby gig platforms to recalibrate their abusive business models. In November, the ITF launched 10 gig economy employer principles, which provide a roadmap for employers to respect the human rights of their workers.