UBER is aiming to have up to 30 local eateries on board when it launches its food delivery app Uber Eats in Bendigo in the coming weeks – but not everyone is happy about it.
Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters has raised concerns about recent examples of business owners and workers allegedly being exploited by Uber and other gig economy companies.
She said apps like Uber Eats “forced many workers into insecure, exploitative and often unsafe work environments”.
“Australia's competition regulator, the ACCC has signaled that it plans to investigate Uber’s allegedly unfair contracts with restaurant owners who have signed up to its Uber Eats delivery app,” Ms Chesters said.
“In Melbourne, business owners have spoken publicly about unfair contracts with Uber Eats, claiming the service takes too much of a share of the sales per delivery at 35 percent.
“I am very concerned that third-party delivery services can place unreasonable conditions on small business.”
The Australian Fair Work Ombudsman recently launched legal action against online delivery company Foodora over alleged sham contracting and underpayments.
While questions remained about the regulation of companies in the gig economy, many eatery owners in Bendigo were looking forward to the increase in exposure offered by Uber Eats.
Flight Bar co-owner Justin McPhail said he had already signed his business up with Uber Eats because he could see an opportunity to increase his customer base.
“From our point of view, having a big, well-trusted name like Uber Eats can only be a plus for our business,” he said.
“It’s more about being able to use their market reach to reach more customers.”
Mr McPhail, who has managed a number of restaurants in Bendigo, said there were always risks involved in these arrangements, but business owners just needed to weigh up the benefits.
“You’ve got to weigh it up. With something like Uber Eats, you’re going to get 10 times the market reach so it’s going to be a benefit,” he said.
“Every other delivery company we’ve spoken to has offered a minimum of 15 per cent share in sales.”
Uber Eats is meeting with businesses throughout Bendigo in the coming weeks before officially launching.
A spokesperson for the company said they were “driving unprecedented growth” for some local restaurants, and described Uber Eats delivery drivers as “independent” of Uber.
“Uber does not require or offer scheduled shifts, minimum hours, uniforms, or branded gear,” she said.
“Regarding the ACCC, no one has a greater interest in a thriving restaurant sector in Australia than Uber Eats. Complying with Australian law is important to us. We are, and will continue to actively cooperate with the ACCC.”