Transport Workers' Union

The TWU has announced workers’ compensation claims on behalf of the families of three food delivery riders killed at work: Burak Dogan, Akshay Doultani and Adil Abbas.

Food delivery riders are denied workers’ compensation through gig economy models, leaving injured workers exposed and grieving families without justice.

Burak Dogan died in April 2020, but his death was unreported for over a year and his family denied any money from the gig company’s insurance because of its own terms that state a worker is only working within a 15-minute window of a delivery. Burak received order request notifications at the exact time he went under the truck and afterwards.

Akshay Doultani and Adil Abbas died within three weeks of each other in July and August this year during the Saturday evening dinner rush. Akshay had been in Australia for a few months, and Adil for only a few weeks.

The application on behalf of Burak Dogan’s family will be filed today in the Personal Injury Commission, after Uber and NSW insurer iCare denied liability. Claims on behalf of Akshay Doultani and Adil Abbas’ families are being prepared and will be first put to Uber and iCare.

Underreporting in this industry indicates there could be more than the 13 food delivery riders known to have died in Australia.

A Macquarie University study found far fewer reports of workplace injuries to the safety regulator than presentations to a Sydney hospital. It found delivery riders are 13 times more likely than recreational cyclists to present to an emergency department between 8pm and midnight.

TWU National Assistant Secretary Nick McIntosh said:

“No sum of money can ease the pain of losing a loved one, but when a worker dies, their family should be compensated. The origins of our workers’ compensation systems lie in 19th century British law – this long-held principle should be enhanced rather than bypassed by 21st century technology.

“Burak, Akshay and Adil were young men, aged 30 and under, all in Australia to study so they could have bright futures. Their whole lives should have been ahead of them, but tragically were ripped away. The shock of these losses remains raw.

“Grieving families should not have to fight in individual battles just to get what they’re owed. Food delivery riders need rights and protections to keep them safe at work, and compensation in the event the worst happens.

“While we take up these workers’ compensation claims, transport gig workers are calling on Federal Parliament to urgently pass lifesaving reform to set fair, safe and sustainable standards for all transport workers,” McIntosh said.

Three previous workers’ compensation cases on behalf of the families of food delivery riders have settled. Lihong Wei, the wife of delivery rider Xiaojun Chen, was awarded more than $830,000 after iCare agreed he was an employee rather than a contractor.

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