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Uber Eats riders earning as little as $5 for deliveries crossing multiple NSW suburbs | Uber

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Uber Eats riders in Australia are earning as little as $5 for individual deliveries that cross multiple suburbs, as riders complain that their pay was cut by the global tech giant during the pandemic.

New data provided to Guardian Australia by riders has revealed pay rates as low as $5.01 for a nearly 4km trip.

One rider was paid $5.70 for a 5km trip that took 14 minutes – which does not include time spent waiting.

Another rider was paid less than $10 for a 23-minute trip that took them down Sydney’s busy Parramatta Road.

Screengrabs showing ride times and pay rates for UberEats
Times and pay rates for Uber Eats deliveries.

The rider earned $9.78 for the 23-minute delivery, which did not include time spent waiting for the food to be prepared, the time between jobs, or the time taken to travel to the restaurant.

Riders have previously told a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry that the time spent waiting for orders lowered their hourly rate of pay.

Another rider was paid $12.87 for a 27-minute trip.

The trip – from a grocery store to a home – spanned 15km, and crossed at least five suburbs, from Sydney’s inner west to south.

Other riders made $5.01 for a 12-minute trip across 3.7km, $5.74 for a 14-minute trip across 5.2km, and $7.38 for a 17-minute trip across 7.2km.

Uber Eats and other companies like Deliveroo class their workers as independent contractors, rather than employees, meaning they are not entitled to award rates of pay. Gig workers are not paid a set hourly rate, but are paid for each delivery.

Rival food delivery company Menulog recently announced it would abandon the gig worker model and make all its workers employees within a “few years’ time”.

Menulog’s Australian managing director, Morten Belling, told NSW parliament that it would provide set hourly rates of pay and that this certainty for riders would benefit both employer and worker.

Belling said the company needed to do this to “meet its moral obligations” as an originally Australian-developed business.

Pay rates for Uber Eats riders vary by city, and are calculated depending on time taken and distance travelled.

A report commissioned by Uber between August and December found the average earnings for food deliverers was $21.55 an hour after costs – but only during meal times.

The report also found that 77% of Uber Eats delivery workers were ineligible for government support during the pandemic – mostly due to being recent migrants.

Screengrab
Uber Eats pay rate for a nearly 4km trip.

In response to questions, a spokesman for Uber Eats referred Guardian Australia to the report, prepared by global consulting company Accenture.

The report contained no data on lowest and highest ranges of hourly pay.

On Tuesday, the Fair Work Commission also ruled that a worker for rival company Deliveroo was an employee, not a contractor.

The commission found that Deliveroo regularly tracked its delivery riders and compared their times to identify slow riders. The worker, Diego Franco, was sacked for being too slow with his deliveries.

A spokeswoman for Deliveroo said it planned to appeal the decision and was “confident that riders are independent contractors”.

“We do not accept the premise upon which the decision was taken and do not believe this reflects how Deliveroo riders work with the company in practice,” she said.

“Riders have the absolute freedom to decide whether, when and where they work, and if they do go online they can decide how long to work and can freely reject any offer of work offered to them. Riders don’t need to provide personal service – they can and do use delegates to complete deliveries. Riders can and do work with multiple platforms, including competitors, at the same time – as Mr Franco did himself.”

The Deliveroo spokeswoman said the company would “appeal this decision to protect those freedoms”.

Previously, riders told the NSW parliament that pay rates dropped to $8 a delivery during the pandemic, because companies could reduce pay for their workers as demand surged for delivered food, and people lost their jobs and became gig workers.

Riders have also told Guardian Australia that they are under pressure to work faster due to companies tracking them.

On Tuesday, an Uber Eats spokeswoman responded to the finding against Deliveroo, saying that “not all online food delivery apps operate in the same way”.

Previous rulings of the Fair Work Commission and the full bench of the commission involving Uber Eats have said that Uber Eats workers are not employees.

However, in December last year, Uber settled a case before the full bench of the federal court on the same issue – thereby avoiding what would have been a landmark ruling on the status of gig workers.

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2021 iPhone photography awards – in pictures | Technology

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The 14th annual iPhone photography awards offer glimpses of beauty, hope and the endurance of the human spirit. Out of thousands of submissions, photojournalist Istvan Kerekes of Hungary was named the grand prize winner for his image Transylvanian Shepherds. In it, two rugged shepherds traverse an equally rugged industrial landscape, bearing a pair of lambs in their arms.

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With Alphabet’s legendary commitment to products, we can’t wait to see what its robotics biz Intrinsic achieves • The Register

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Alphabet today launched its latest tech startup, Intrinsic, which aims to build commercial software that will power industrial robots.

Intrinsic will focus on developing software control tools for industrial robots used in manufacturing, we’re told. Its pitch is that the days of humans having to manually program and adjust a robot’s every move are over, and that mechanical bots should be more autonomous and smart, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and leaps in training techniques.

This could make robots easier to direct – give them a task, and they’ll figure out the specifics – and more efficient – the AI can work out the best way to achieve its goal.

“Over the last few years, our team has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn, and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications,” said CEO Wendy Tan White.

“Working in collaboration with teams across Alphabet, and with our partners in real-world manufacturing settings, we’ve been testing software that uses techniques like automated perception, deep learning, reinforcement learning, motion planning, simulation, and force control.”

Tan White – a British entrepreneur and investor who was made an MBE by the Queen in 2016 for her services to the tech industry – will leave her role as vice president of X, Alphabet’s moonshot R&D lab, to concentrate on Intrinsic.

She earlier co-founded and was CEO of website-building biz Moonfruit, and helped multiple early-stage companies get up and running as a general partner at Entrepreneur First, a tech accelerator. She is also a board trustee of the UK’s Alan Turing Institute, and member of Blighty’s Digital Economic Council.

“I loved the role I played in creating platforms that inspired the imagination and entrepreneurship of people all over the world, and I’ve recently stepped into a similar opportunity: I’m delighted to share that I’m now leading Intrinsic, a new Alphabet company,” she said.

The new outfit is another venture to emerge from Google-parent Alphabet’s X labs, along with Waymo, the self-driving car startup; and Verily, a biotech biz. ®

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Charles River to create 90 new jobs at Ballina biologics site

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Charles River is expanding its testing capabilities in Ballina as part of its partnership with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca.

Contract research organisation Charles River Laboratories is planning an €8m site expansion in Ballina to facilitate batch release testing for Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca.

The expansion at the Mayo site will create an additional 1,500 sq m of lab space and 90 highly skilled jobs in the area over the next three years.

Click here to check out the top sci-tech employers hiring right now.

The company provides longstanding partners AstraZeneca with outsourced regulated safety and development support on a range of treatments and vaccines, including testing and facilitating the deployment of Vaxzevria for Covid-19 and Fluenz for seasonal infleunza.

The latest investment follows earlier expansions at the Ballina site and Charles River recently announced plans to establish a dedicated laboratory space to handle testing of SARS-CoV-2 and other similar pathogens that cause human disease.

“We are incredibly proud of the transformational changes we have implemented on site and the role that Charles River has played in supporting the safe and timely roll-out of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine,” said Liam McHale, site director for Charles River Ballina.

“Throughout the pandemic, our site remained fully operational while keeping our employees safe and having a positive impact on human health. Our expanded facility will provide us with the increased capacity needed to continue the essential services we provide to our clients.”

Charles River acquired the Ballina facility, which focuses on biologics testing, in 2002. The company employs 230 people at its two facilities in Ireland, including the Mayo site and a site in Dublin, established in 2017, which serves as the EMEA and APAC headquarters for the company’s microbial solutions division.

IDA Ireland is supporting the expansion. Mary Buckley, executive director of the agency, said Charles River is an “employer of long standing” in Co Mayo.

“The enhancement of its product lines and the development of additional capability at the Ballina facility is most welcome,” she added. “Today’s announcement is strongly aligned to IDA Ireland’s regional pillar and its continued commitment to winning jobs and investment in regional locations.”

Dan Wygal, country president for AstraZeneca Ireland, added: “Our Covid-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria, undergoes extremely robust safety and quality testing prior to becoming available for patients. We are committed to bringing safe, effective vaccines to Ireland and other markets as quickly as possible, and Charles River will continue to be an important partner in this regard.”

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