Australia’s New South Wales state ordered a minimum pay for freelance delivery drivers, including those of retailer Amazon, in a move seen to be a world first.
The measure will require all companies that hire drivers with their own small vehicles to pay a minimum of A$37.80 ($27.20) per hour starting March 1. The rate will increase to to $37.80 by July 1, 2025.
With the new rule, New South Wales — where Amazon is headquartered in Australia — would be the first place where the retail giant will be compelled to observe wage laws, the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) said.
“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,” said the union’s national secretary, Michael Kaine.
The ruling would cause a 45 percent pay increase for some drivers, according to Kaine.
Meanwhile, an Amazon spokesperson said that Amazon Flex drivers in New South Wales who drive a sedan already earned more, on average, than the enforceable rate that would take effect from March 1, according to the spokesperson.
Amazon has faced scrutiny for paying its contractors short of a living wage. Last year, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission ordered Amazon to reimburse $61.7 million in allegedly stolen tips.
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