Australian transport union accuses Amazon Flex of underpaying drivers

Transport Workers Union (TWU) has hit out at Amazon, accusing the global e-commerce giant of underpaying Amazon Flex drivers.

Amazon Flex was launched in Australia at the start of the year. At the time, Amazon Australia boasted it would give individuals the chance to earn money while delivering Amazon packages to customers.

Much like Uber, individuals are required to use their own vehicles, and at a minimum, are required to have personal car insurance and compulsory third-party personal injury.

When these compulsory insurance requirements are met, Amazon also provides delivery partners with Amazon Insurance Coverage at no additional cost, which includes auto liability coverage, third-party property damage, and contingent comprehensive coverage. But the coverage is only applicable when individuals are using Amazon Flex to deliver packages or return undelivered packages back to a designated location.

While it is unclear how much individual contractors earn or whether Amazon will take a share of those earnings, Amazon had assured that delivery partner rates are “competitive”.

“Our delivery partners are paid per delivery block rather than per hour and block rates vary depending on a range of different factors, including time of day and day of the week. The delivery partner knows the estimated duration and payment for each block before they accept it on the Amazon Flex app,” an Amazon spokesperson told ZDNet during the launch.

However, TWU said following a financial examination of Amazon’s pay rates, it has revealed all Amazon Flex drivers are allegedly being paid “well under Australia’s minimum wage” when costs such as insurance, petrol, and maintenance are taken into account.

“For years, workers and unions have exposed the gig economy sham for its exploitation and dodging of industrial and WHS legislation. Now here we have a retail giant that has profited immensely from the pandemic on a