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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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How to keep a support contract • The Register

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On Call Let us take a little trip back to the days before the PC, when terminals ruled supreme, to find that the more things change the more they stay the same. Welcome to On Call.

Today’s story comes from “Keith” (not his name) and concerns the rage of a user whose expensive terminal would crash once a day, pretty much at the same time.

The terminal in question was a TAB 132/15. It was an impressive bit of kit for the time and was capable of displaying 132 characters of crisp, green text on a 15-inch CRT housed in a futuristic plastic case. Luxury for sure, unless one was the financial trader trying to use the device.

Once a day, at around 13:30, the terminal would hang. The user would have to reach behind it, power it off, wait a bit, and then fire it back up again. To placate the angry customer, a replacement was dispatched, and all was well. Until the problem started again. Another replacement was made. Another week or so went by with no complaints. And again, another call: the terminal was hanging. Same time. A few times a week.

“These terminals were in the thousand-dollar range,” Keith told us, so a monthly replacement cycle was not really an option. He even used one of the faulty units himself for a while and encountered no issues, which was odd in itself and, we reckon, planted a seed of suspicion.

As for the customer, he was raging by this point. “He was threatening to cancel our contract for his entire firm,” remembered Keith, which would hit the bottom line hard. A salesperson was sent out to see what was happening, but there was no failure.

A technician went out; again no failure. Was this a case of “Technician Syndrome”, where a problem cannot be replicated in front of service personnel? Maybe. Keith’s team were at their wit’s end while the customer had hit the end of his tether and gone beyond.

The solution to the problem was accidental. Keith was back on site, diagnosing an unrelated software issue, but could see the suspect terminal on the other side of the room. As he watched, the trader using the machine sat back for lunch, flipping through the pages of a financial newspaper. A phone call came through, and the trader slung the paper on top of the monitor, took the call, and then resumed work.

Oblivious to the newspaper.

A few minutes later there was uproar. The trader had stood and was slapping the side of the terminal, yelling all manner of not-safe-for-work oaths and casting aspersions upon the good name of Keith’s firm, the software, the programmers, and the computing industry in general. The cursing continued as the trader reached behind for the power switch, knocking the paper aside.

Keith had his solution. But was smart enough to know that a bland presentation of facts would probably not help. Instead, he arranged for his office to call the trader and tell him that a tech was on the way to help. He waited until the trader was distracted and sauntered over.

“Sure enough,” said Keith, “he said he was glad to see me but launched into a tirade again about the device’s many faults.”

He let the customer vent for a while, and surreptitiously placed the newspaper back on top over the heat vents on the terminal while pretending to examine the rear of the unit.

Now patience was needed. It wouldn’t take long – the terminal had, after all, only just recovered from its last overheating episode – and Keith encouraged the trader to unload all his woes and grievances.

The bug list was building as the screen suddenly flickered and locked up. “There! You see that?” exclaimed the user. Keith nodded and reached round the side of the terminal to cycle the power. Sure enough, it came back up.

Keith made a show of thanking the user for showing him the elusive bug and was staging a call with a co-worker, supposedly to prepare a replacement, when the terminal locked up again.

Keith wrinkled his forehead at the “mystery” before offering up an explanation.

“Ah!” he exclaimed, “Did you see how that flicker started from the top and moved to the down?”

Those familiar with the technology will know it was just following the raster pattern. The customer, on the other hand, did not.

“That is often a sign it is overheating,” said Keith, playing fast and loose with the truth, “but this office is cool?”

He pretended to be mystified until the penny dropped for the trader, who unleashed yet more expletives as he realised where he’d dropped his newspaper and snatched it away from the vents.

Feeling the volcanic heat spewing from the depths of the terminal, he turned to Keith, suddenly concerned: “Will it be OK?”

Of course it would. It had only been overheating for a short time every day. The apologies from the customer, who had “discovered” the problem, were profuse and copious. Keith excused himself, but not before rubbing a bit more salt into the wound by telling the user he needed to cancel the burn-in process of yet another expensive replacement.

As it turned out, rather than the customer cancelling the support contact, it ended up being extended.

“It was a good thing I’d let him ‘discover’ the fault,” said Keith. “If I had found it, he would have been very defensive and we still might have lost that contract.”

The minor bugs the user had reported while Keith had been waiting for the overheating to happen again were swiftly dealt with and the enhancement requests logged. Keith also reported back to his boss, who spent rather a lot of time laughing.

“It was a good day.”

Ever set the stage so the customer thinks they’re the hero of the hour? Or maybe you’ve wished all manner of unpleasantness upon your suppliers before realising the blame laid with you all along? Tell us about the time you picked up the phone with an email to On Call. ®

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NUIG to spend €5m on research to help address global issues

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Several key research areas have been identified by NUI Galway to work towards for 2026.

NUI Galway’s recently launched research and innovation strategy includes a €5m investment on support for its multi-disciplinary research teams as they grapple with several global issues.

The strategy, which lays out plans for the university’s next five years of research, focuses on six areas: antimicrobial resistance, decarbonisation, democracy and its future, food security, human-centred data and ocean and coastal health.

“As a public university, we have a special responsibility to direct our research toward the most pressing questions and the most difficult issues,” said to Prof Jim Livesey, VP for research and innovation at NUI Galway.

“As we look into the future, we face uncertainty about the number and nature of challenges we will face, but we know that we will rely on our research capacity as we work together to overcome them,” Livesey added.

The plan focuses on creating the conditions to intensify the quality, scale and scope of research in the university into the future. This includes identifying areas with genuine potential to achieve international recognition for NUI Galway. It also aims to continue to cultivate a supportive and diverse environment within its research community.

NUI Galway has research collaborations with 3,267 international institutions in 114 different countries. The university also has five research institutes on its Galway city campus, including the Data Science Institute, the Whitaker Institute for social change and innovation and the Ryan Institute for marine research.

Its research centres in the medtech area include Science Foundation Ireland’s Cúram and the Corrib Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Lab.

The university will also continue to involve the public with its research and innovation plans through various education and outreach initiatives. It is leading the Public Patient Involvement Ignite network, which it claims, will “bring the public into the heart of research initiatives”.

Another key area identified in the strategy report is the development of partnerships with industry stakeholders. NUI Galway has spun out many successful companies in recent years, including medtechs such as AuriGen Medical, Atrian, Vetex Medical and Neurent.

According to MedTech Europe, Ireland has the highest number of medtech employees per capita in Europe along with Switzerland.

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France hails victory as Facebook agrees to pay newspapers for content | France

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France has hailed a victory in its long-running quest for fairer action from tech companies after Facebook reached an agreement with a group of national and regional newspapers to pay for content shared by its users.

Facebook on Thursday announced a licensing agreement with the APIG alliance of French national and regional newspapers, which includes Le Parisien and Ouest-France as well as smaller titles. It said this meant “people on Facebook will be able to continue uploading and sharing news stories freely amongst their communities, whilst also ensuring that the copyright of our publishing partners is protected”.

France had been battling for two years to protect the publishing rights and revenue of its press and news agencies against what it termed the domination of powerful tech companies that share news content or show news stories in web searches.

In 2019 France became the first EU country to enact a directive on the publishing rights of media companies and news agencies, called “neighbouring rights”, which required large tech platforms to open talks with publishers seeking remuneration for use of news content. But it has taken long negotiations to reach agreements on paying publishers for content.

No detail was given of the exact amount agreed by Facebook and the APIG.

Pierre Louette, the head of the media group Les Echos-Le Parisien, led the alliance of newspapers who negotiated as a group with Facebook. He said the agreement was “the result of an outspoken and fruitful dialogue between publishers and a leading digital platform”. He said the terms agreed would allow Facebook to implement French law “while generating significant funding” for news publishers, notably the smallest ones.

Other newspapers, such as the national daily Le Monde, have negotiated their own deals in recent months. News agencies have also negotiated separately.

After the 2019 French directive to protect publishers’ rights, a copyright spat raged for more than a year in which French media groups sought to find common ground with international tech firms. Google initially refused to comply, saying media groups already benefited by receiving millions of visits to their websites. News outlets struggling with dwindling print subscriptions complained about not receiving a cut of the millions made from ads displayed alongside news stories, particularly on Google.

But this year Google announced it had reached a draft agreement with the APIG to pay publishers for a selection of content shown in its searches.

Facebook said that besides paying for French content, it would also launch a French news service, Facebook News, in January – a follow-up to similar services in the US and UK – to “give people a dedicated space to access content from trusted and reputable news sources”.

Facebook reached deals with most of Australia’s largest media companies earlier this year. Nine Entertainment, which includes the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, said in its annual report that it was expecting “strong growth in the short-term” from its deals with Facebook and Google.

British newspapers including the Guardian signed up last year to a programme in which Facebook pays to license articles that appear on a dedicated news section on the social media site. Separately, in July Guardian Australia struck a deal with Facebook to license news content.

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