Gig economy takes a hit as Coles’ deal with Uber Eats sees drivers pick up and pack groceries for home delivery – days after MilkRun’s sudden collapse
- Uber partners with Coles in grocery delivery pact
- Follows the sudden collapse of Milkrun
One of Australia’s supermarket giants has teamed up with the country’s largest delivery service to boost its gig economy after the sudden collapse of MilkRun.
More than 500 Coles supermarkets across the country will be placed on Uber Eats in the near future to deliver groceries to customers within an hour, with the first 40 Melbourne stores being placed on the Uber Eats app on Thursday.
The home delivery industry received a reality check on Tuesday after start-up MilkRun announced it would close its doors after hours on Friday.
Prior to the deal, Coles relied on his own delivery drivers and Uber Eats’ delivery rival, DoorDash, to deliver groceries to customers.
However, delivery drivers – who usually earn less than minimum wage – for Uber Eats will have to collect and pack Coles orders.
Supermarket giant Coles teams up with Uber Eats to boost the gig economy after the sudden collapse of home delivery services like MilkRun
Lucas Groenveld, Uber Eats Regional General Manager of Retail, said the company is “excited” to partner with Coles.
The goal of ‘Uber Eats’ is to meet the growing desire of customers to have (almost) everything they need delivered on-demand.
“This expansion will boost the wide variety of messages available in the app.”
The supermarket has seen an ‘overwhelming’ increase in demand for delivery orders over the past two years and invested in new vans and staff prior to the collaboration.
“This partnership will enable Coles to meet these last-minute grocery needs while continuing to build capacity for Click&Collect and Coles Online next day deliveries,” said a Coles spokesperson.
“Coles team members are not affected by this collaboration and there is a clear distinction between the roles of Coles team members and third party couriers.”
Coles members’ jobs are safeguarded by the decision to let Uber Eats delivery drivers find, package, and then deliver the items in an order to the customer.
“Any delivery placed with Coles via Uber Eats will be packaged and delivered by a delivery driver using the Uber Eats platform,” a statement from Coles reads.
“”Pack and Deliver” allows delivery drivers to communicate with customers directly in the app so that out-of-stock items are replaced with an item of their choice.”
Around 500 Coles stores will be placed on the Uber Eats app in the coming months, with 40 stores already launched in Melbourne
Contract workers, meanwhile, have pointed to the negative aspects of the gig economy.
The McKell Institute Queensland’s Tough Gig report revealed that low wages were a major issue for 76 per cent of gig workers, while another issue was account deactivation.
“At least 45 percent of workers in the gig economy reported earning less than the minimum wage. If this finding is reflected in the gig economy, 90,000-112,000 Australian workers are earning less than minimum wage,” the report said.
Just over 80 percent of all respondents in the report revealed that they depend on the money they make from rideshare, food delivery or parcel delivery.
About 40 percent of employees reported having to work more than 40 hours a week (overtime), even though giants are not entitled to overtime, to earn enough money to pay bills.