SYDNEY : An Australian state ordered Amazon.com Inc on Friday to pay a minimum fee to freelance supply drivers, a call hailed by a union as making it the world’s first jurisdiction to compel the retailer to comply with authorities guidelines on such funds.
The measure, to be phased in over three years from March 1, requires the world’s largest retailer to pay drivers for its Amazon Flex enterprise a minimum of A$37.80 ($27.20) per hour in Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales.
That makes the state, the headquarters of Amazon’s operations in Australia, the primary place the place it should pay wages to contractors which can be set by legislation, the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) mentioned.
“Gig behemoths are on notice: this is what happens when workers call out these dangerous bottom feeders and fight together for a fair day’s pay,” mentioned the union’s nationwide secretary, Michael Kaine.
“For too long the likes of Amazon have been able to exploit independent contractor loopholes to sidestep rights and rip workers off fair rates of pay,” he added in an announcement.
An Amazon spokesperson mentioned the corporate was “pleased to continue offering Amazon Flex delivery partners competitive pay as well as the flexibility to work when it suits them”.
Flex drivers with a sedan in New South Wales already earned extra, on common, than the enforceable fee that might take impact from March 1, the spokesperson added.
Shares of the $1.6-trillion firm have practically doubled in worth over the previous two years, because the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a rush to on-line buying.
But it has confronted scrutiny over perceptions that it takes a hands-off method to front-line employee security and labour legal guidelines in the nations the place it operates.
Last yr, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission ordered Amazon to pay $61.7 million to reimburse Flex drivers for suggestions it was accused of stealing.
Since Flex launched in Australia in 2020, drivers, who use their very own autos to ship by deadline packages picked up from Amazon distribution centres, have acquired various quantities set by the corporate as they don’t seem to be technically staff.
Friday’s ruling by the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission confirms that it’s attainable for all employees to have entry to enforceable rights and protections, no matter employment standing, the TWU mentioned.
Commission officers weren’t instantly obtainable for remark.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel)