Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has dealt a blow to NSW delivery workers
Delivery drivers across New South Wales will soon receive a significant pay rise after a landmark decision that could have global implications.
Some drivers will get salary increases of up to 45% over the next three years.
The NSW Industrial Relations Commission issued its decision on Friday.
This will also have a significant impact on Jeff Bezos’ operations, as Amazon Flex drivers will now be entitled to a minimum rate of pay.
This aspect will surprise Amazon, which was not a party to the application.
“The impact of this decision will be felt around the world,” said Transport Workers Union National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“The gig giants get warned – that’s what happens when workers call out these dangerous bottom eaters and fight together for fair pay.”
The TWU has successfully called for drivers of small delivery vehicles – such as cars and minivans – to be covered by minimum wage.
Owner-drivers of vehicles that can transport between 1.5 and 3 tonnes of goods will be entitled to $43.74 per hour as of March 1.
Rates for these workers had not been adjusted for 15 years, but operating costs had risen dramatically, causing some workers to earn less than minimum wage after costs.
The inclusion of minimum rates for smaller vehicles means Amazon Flex drivers will be eligible for hourly rates of $27.83.
This rate will increase to $37.80 by July 2025.
The minimum wage requirement is a “world first” for Amazon, but will not immediately increase driver wages.
“We are excited to continue to offer Amazon Flex delivery partners a competitive salary as well as the flexibility to work when it suits them,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.
“Amazon Flex delivery partners in NSW driving a sedan earn on average over $128 for a four-hour block, which is already above the new rate which will come into effect from March 1.”
Bike delivery workers will see the biggest pay rise.
By 2025, the minimum rate will increase from $19.44 to $31.32, an increase of 61%.
“For too long, companies like Amazon have been able to exploit loopholes in independent contractors to circumvent rights and rip workers off fair pay rates,” Kaine said.
“Today’s victory confirms that it is entirely possible for all workers to have access to enforceable rights and protections, regardless of their employment status.”
NSW Labor MP Daniel Mookhey, who looked into the state’s gig economy as part of a parliamentary inquiry, welcomed the IRC’s decision.
“This decision will significantly improve the lives of thousands of hard-working owner-operators and their families, who for more than a decade have seen spiraling costs erode their standard of living,” Mr Mookhey said.