Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Research has revealed food delivery workers see the line of work as the only option due to limited English and workplace-related skills.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University, the University of WA and Sydney University interviewed 58 delivery workers about their opinions on their jobs and published the results in the Journal of Industrial Relations.

It was found workers view the occupation as a short-term arrangement and only receive $10-12 an hour before tax.

“The people doing the work were mainly those who don’t have access to Australia’s safety net. They’re international visa holders, people on working holidays and international students,” said Dr Tom Barratt from Edith Cowan University’s School of Business and Law.

“While those workers accepted that gig work was okay, even good for them in the short term, almost everyone we surveyed said if they had the opportunity they would do any other job.”

The research examined the quality of jobs on three levels: for individuals, for the labour market and for society.

“On the individual level, these jobs make sense because the workers have limited options, and see this work as preferable to their labour market alternatives,” said Dr Barratt.

However, delivery workers are also some of the country’s most at-risk workers when it comes to underpayments, mistreatment and potential loss of income.

“Minimum wages suggest that as a society we aren’t okay with people working for such low, and unreliable, payment. These workers are very vulnerable, they’re responsible for their own insurance and if something happens to their bike, it’s up to them.”

Read the full paper here.


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