UGO

[Death end re; Quest]Food delivery driver’s death wasn’t recognised by Uber Eats and his family are still fighting for th

Update time:2021-07-08 14:39Tag:

  Uber Eats sent three delivery requests to Burak Dogan on a Thursday afternoon in April last year.

  He was alive for the first.

  Mr Dogan, a 30-year-old Turkish student, was riding an electric bike in Sydney’s inner west when he was fatally hit by a truck, moments before the final Uber Eats order requests.

  A spate of rider deaths at the end of last year — four on NSW roads in three months — sparked a government task force and promises of action from the delivery platforms.

  But the issues these riders face may be worse than originally thought.

  Mr Dogan’s crash on April 2, 2020 was not reported in the media as the death of a food delivery rider.

  Although he was logged into the app when he was killed, Uber Eats does not recognise the death as a workplace fatality.

  And the company’s insurer has rejected a death benefit claim worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  A police report released to the ABC by the NSW Coroner’s Court suggests the driver of the truck was not at fault in any way.

  Mr Dogan was riding his bike in the blind spot of the truck driver?on a stretch of Parramatta Road?where a lane disappears.

  The Uber Eats data shows that Mr Dogan had accepted his first job for the day and travelled to the restaurant, but cancelled it for an unknown reason at 12:25pm.

  He was hit by the truck in the left-hand lane at 12:50pm.?

  Family of five people at a celebration Family of five people at a celebration Burak Dogan’s sister says her family misses her brother’s “happiness”.(

  Supplied: Facebook

  )

  Mr Dogan’s sister, Seda, says the family has not been contacted by Uber Eats since her brother’s death.

  Speaking on the phone from Turkey, she remembers her brother as a devoted friend who was close to his family.

  ”Burak was a very happy person,” she says.

  ”I miss that happiness.”

  In April this year,?Uber Eats general manager for Australia, Matt Denman, was asked in NSW Parliament about worker fatalities.

  Appearing before a committee on the future of work, Mr Denman said?how saddened the company was by the loss of life. He talked about safety initiatives like helmet detection and fatigue management that the company had employed.

  The chair of the committee, Labor MP Daniel Mookhey, wanted to know how many Uber Eats riders had died on NSW roads in the last year.

  ”There were three of them, were there not?” he asked.

  ”That is correct,” Mr Denman replied.

  Uber Eats had already publicly acknowledged the deaths of three of their?riders who were killed in 2020 — Dede Fredy, Bijoy Paul and Ik Wong.

  It meant Mr Dogan was not included in the answer.

  The company later told the ABC in a statement that, in the hearing, it was referring only to “road fatalities involving delivery people who were making a delivery with Uber Eats”.

  Elderly man standing on a roadside corner in Sydney's inner westElderly man standing on a roadside corner in Sydney's inner west Yavuz Cikar is outraged that his cousin Burak Dogan was not insured by Uber Eats at the time of his death.(

  Supplied: Jack Fisher

  )

  Not only was Mr Dogan left off the list of fatalities, he also narrowly missed out on insurance cover.

  Uber Eats treats its riders as independent contractors, rather than employees, which means they don’t have access to the NSW workers’ compensation scheme.

  Background Briefing logo of an iceberg.Background Briefing logo of an iceberg.

  Background Briefing is daring narrative journalism — Australian investigations with impact. Our award-winning reporters forensically uncover the hidden stories at the heart of the country’s biggest issues.

  Read more

  The company said in the parliamentary hearing that it was the first food delivery platform to introduce free insurance for its riders.

  Mr Dogan’s insurance included a $400,000 death benefit to be paid to his family, and funeral expense cover, should he be killed at work.

  However, the insurance policy covers riders only while they are making a delivery, and for 15 minutes after they complete a delivery or cancel a request.

  On April 2, 2020, he logged on at 12:17pm and remained online until his death.

  Having cancelled his last order at 12:25pm, he was only insured until 12:40pm, but was hit 10 minutes later.

  Yavuz Cikar, Mr Dogan’s nearest relative in Australia, says he was appalled to learn Uber Eats had denied a claim for funeral costs.

  ”With my simple mind, not as a lawyer or anyone who’s a professional — what I think is simply this guy was still working for Uber at the time of his death because they were trying to call him,” he says.

  ”From a big corporation, I would expect more fair treatment towards the people who are working, because without people, no big corporations could achieve anything.

  ”The people is the base for everything.”

  Trucks whizz through a busy intersection in SydneyTrucks whizz through a busy intersection in Sydney SafeWork has said a review of the case “noted it was unclear if the rider was working at the time of the incident”.(

  Jack Fisher

  )

  After the crash, Uber Eats notified the workplace health and safety regulator, SafeWork NSW, advising that Mr Dogan was not on a trip or returning home at the time of the accident.

  SafeWork told Background Briefing in a statement the death was included in the government’s “workplace fatality figures in relation to the traffic incident.”

  However, SafeWork also said a review of the case “noted it was unclear if the rider was working at the time of the incident”.

  Michael Kaine, national secretary of the Transport Workers Union, says he is shocked to learn of Mr Dogan’s case.

  ”This just tells you that these are unthinking, unfeeling actions by companies who are absolutely dedicated to maintaining an exploitative model, absolutely dedicated to minimising cost,” Mr Kaine says.

  According to the union, food delivery riders and drivers should be recognised as employees, which would give them access to the workers’ compensation scheme.

  Use this form to get in contact with the Background Briefing team.The webpage also has details for the team’s Signal, WhatsApp, ProtonMail and SecureDrop.

  In April, the NSW Minister for Customer Service, Victor Dominello, announced a consultation on possible improvements to insurance cover for delivery riders.

  Separately, the Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, has announced new safety equipment requirements on platforms, plus a new penalty system?and unique tracking numbers for riders to enforce safety rules.

  However, some riders are concerned heavier fines could cause them to rush to make up for lost income, and take greater?risks.?

  Taxpayer-funded aged care homes funnelled millions to church’We had nowhere to go’ —?then Jen heard about a hidden caravan parkNeo-Nazis had detailed plans to establish a ‘foothold’ in Australia

  After Burak Dogan’s death, police collected his possessions from his Paddington share-house: a copy of the Quran, some Marlboro Gold cigarettes, a photograph, $13 in change.

  They were packed?into two bags.

  The smaller one, containing his identification documents, was sent back to his family.

  ”The other big bag with his belongings — I couldn’t open the bigger bag,” says Burak’s cousin, Yavuz Cikar, who keeps the bag in his car.

  ”It’s still sealed like that because I’m going to take it to his family and hand it to them as it is given to me.”

  Mr Cikar says he is still considering taking Uber Eats and its insurer to court, even though legal action against the company would cost him significantly.?

  ”I’m not going to give up. I’m going to try to find someone who thinks there?is a light at the end of the tunnel and we can do something about it.

  ”Just for?justice’s sake, I want to follow this thing.”

  Get more stories that go beyond the news cycle with our weekly newsletter.

  Your information is being handled in accordance with the ABC Privacy Collection Statement.Email address