Union Concerned UberEats Will Make Drivers Responsible For “Elements Outside Of Their Control”

Published July 18, 2019 (last updated July 22, 2020) -

The Transport Workers Union is concerned an adverse finding against UberEats might result in Uber placing more pressure on the service’s delivery drivers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has ruled that UberEats’ refund terms with its restaurant partners were unfair, as it made those partners “responsible and financially liable for elements outside of their control”, according to the Australian Financial Review.

“Since 2016, UberEats’ contracts have allow it to refund consumers for complaints over deliveries and then charge that amount to the restaurant even if the problem with the meal was not the restaurant’s fault,” the AFR’s workplace correspondent David Marin-Guzman reports.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) is worried that UberEats will not absorb this responsibility but pass it onto workers.

“Uber has a track record of shifting responsibility and we are concerned that it will now make workers rather than restaurants liable,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said.

“Already Uber sacks workers without the chance to appeal if there are complaints about the delivery of orders.

“Without regulation of worker contracts, the ACCC ruling could result in workers being held to account more for customer refunds.”

According to the report, Deliveroo, a competitor of UberEats, “already has a clause in its contract that allows it to deduct riders’ pay for costs and expenses associated with incomplete deliveries.”

In the aftermath of the court case, UberEats clarified its contract terms with restaurants to make them responsible for matters only within their control (such as missing items from an order). UberEats, which bills itself as a technology company, also agreed to amend its contracts to remove sections that, according to the AFR, “misleadingly said it did not provide logistics services”.

“The company made the claim despite it determining the pool of available riders and their payments, and communicating consumer addresses, map services and GPS tracking to assist them,” Marin-Guzman writes.

In a statement, an UberEats spokesperson reaffirmed the company’s intention to amend their agreements with their restaurant partners to comply with the ACCC ruling.

“We’ll be introducing changes to our agreements with restaurant partners that are designed to be more clear, improve transparency and better reflect the way we operate in practice,” the statement read.

This ruling comes not long after the Fair Work Commission ruled that Uber drivers were contractors and not employees.

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