A landmark decision by the New South Wales industrial relations tribunal has ruled that couriers, such as Amazon Flex drivers, are entitled to enforceable minimum pay rates.
Amazon was not specifically named in the proceedings, with the tribunal's determination focused on amending the General Carriers Contract Determination that governs the rates of pay for contracted couriers.
Under the determination, couriers in New South Wales, including Amazon Flex drivers, must be entitled to a minimum rate of pay of AU$37.80 per hour by 1 July 2025. For couriers who use vans with a carrying capacity of between 1.5-3 tonnes, a higher minimum rate of AU$43.74 per hour will be required.
The determinationapplies to all couriers in New South Wales who use their own vehicle to deliver goods.
According to the Transport Workers' Union (TWU), which brought the matter to the tribunal, the provision of enforceable minimum pay rates for gig-style Amazon Flex drivers is a world first.
"The impact of this decision will be felt around the world. Gig behemoths are on notice: This is what happens when workers call out these dangerous bottom feeders and fight together for a fair day's pay," TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said.
"For too long, the likes of Amazon have been able to exploit independent contractor loopholes to sidestep rights and rip workers off fair rates of pay. Today's win confirms that it's entirely possible for all workers to have access to enforceable rights and protections, regardless of their employment status."
The AU$37.80 per hour rate is AU$10 higher than the current minimum rate offered by Amazon, which said Flex drivers currently earn a minimum of AU$108 for a 4-hour block of deliveries.
The determination follows a Senate committee last week blasting Amazon for paying couriers wages that are below existing industry awards.
"Delivery partners engaged by Amazon should either be employees, with proper training, WHS protections, and fair rates of pay, or be properly regulated and remunerated contractors, with contracts negotiated with the support of a union, or under the supervision of a National Tribunal," the Select Committee on Job Security said.