Home food delivery: what is the most ethical way to order in?
The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified the amount of pressure couriers and restaurants are under.
The food delivery industry has boomed during the coronavirus pandemic, but not without some allegations of questionable practices that have drawn the ire of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
在新冠疫情期间，外卖行业蓬勃发展，但也存在一些受到质疑的做法，这些指控已经引起了澳大利亚竞争和消费者委员会(Australian Competition and Consumer Commission)的愤怒。
The major players in the market, Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Menulog and DoorDash, all offer similar services, with concerns that they share little about how they operate.
With pay for contracted drivers determined by algorithms, and often below minimum wage, industry representatives allege food delivery apps are creating unsafe and unfair conditions for drivers.
Joe Corrigan, co-founder of Ride On, a driver-owned delivery platform connecting restaurants with drivers rather than consumers, says “pretty much everyone is getting screwed on the back of the convenience for the consumer”.
拥有内部外卖员的平台Ride On将餐厅与外卖员(而非消费者)连接起来。该公司联合创始人乔•科里根(Joe Corrigan)表示:“几乎所有人都在为消费者提供便利而吃苦头。”
Are couriers treated fairly?
Couriers are generally employed as “independent contractors”, which means they are not entitled to paid leave, sick pay, superannuation and other benefits.
There is very little training, and there is no protection for delivery drivers during bad weather. They are not paid extra for petrol or to maintain their vehicles.
A survey conducted by the Transport Workers’ Union also found that one in three drivers had been injured on the job, with the vast majority (80%) receiving no support from their company.
“Essential frontline transport workers are also getting sacked with little or no warning and no chance to argue their case during the pandemic,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine says. “This is nothing short of heartless given the rising unemployment situation in Australia.”
Many couriers are recent immigrants and students as well, exacerbating the precariousness of their finances.
In April, the Fair Work Commission ruled that drivers were not employees, but a parliamentary inquiry in New South Wales will be looking at the business model, while the Victorian government is considering how to regulate the sector.
今年4月，公平工作委员会(Fair Work Commission)规定外卖员不是雇员，但新南威尔士州的议会调查将关注这种商业模式，而维多利亚州政府正在考虑如何监管该行业。
Are drivers at high risk of contracting Covid?
Delivery services have almost universally adopted contactless procedures. That means couriers can place the order at doorsteps without interacting with the customer.
But it doesn’t mean that drivers are completely safe. Unions have urged delivery services to provide protective equipment such as masks and gloves for couriers.
Deliveroo, Uber and DoorDash say they will provide assistance to drivers and riders diagnosed with Covid-19 for up to 14 days.
However, with no food delivery app providing sick leave or workers’ compensation to contractors, there is no support for drivers who need to self-isolate as a precaution, or falls ill with something unrelated to Covid-19.
Is it better to pick it up yourself?
Most restaurants would prefer that customers come in and pick up their orders themselves.
“Take-away is usually preferred, they don’t have to pay commission, they don’t have to worry about all the operational headaches of delivery,” Corrigan says, adding that customers should also try to order online or by calling up.
Corrigan encourages consumers to get in contact with the restaurant, saying some still have their own internal delivery drivers.
Finally, be compassionate to couriers and restaurants, in treatment and in your review. Many are under enormous pressure and bad reviews could shut down a small business trying to make ends meet.