Uber Eats has recently announced its partnership with Coles supermarkets, offering grocery deliveries from 500 of the supermarket chain’s stores all across Australia. This partnership will make thousands of Coles products available to order through the app, which gig economy workers will pack from grocery store shelves and then deliver within 60 minutes in metro areas.
The new deal comes after MilkRun, a grocery delivery service, announced on Tuesday that it would be closing and making its 400 employees redundant, citing worsening economic conditions. A spokesperson for Coles revealed that the deal with Uber Eats was in response to the increased demand for its in-house grocery delivery service over the past two years. Coles already has a partnership with meal delivery service DoorDash, but this deal with Uber Eats will allow the supermarket chain to offer Australians a fast, reliable, and affordable option for getting fresh produce and groceries delivered to their doorstep.
“We’re delighted to expand our partnership with Uber Eats to offer Australians a fast, reliable, and affordable option for getting fresh produce and groceries delivered to their doorsteps,” said Claire Pallot, Coles’ general manager of digital operations and ventures.
Despite gig economy workers not yet having a minimum wage, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) has welcomed the partnership, calling it a “powerful opportunity” to improve workers’ conditions and entitlements. The TWU has signed agreements with both Coles and Uber aimed at improving workers’ conditions and income.
It comes ahead of potential changes affecting gig economy workers, with the government planning to give the FairWork Commission the power to set minimum conditions and benefits for gig workers. Uber, alongside other major rideshare players, has publicly backed the government’s plan.
The rollout began on Thursday with 40 stores in Melbourne and will expand to more than 500 in the coming months. This new partnership will probably rival Woolworths’ delivery arrangement with Uber Eats which currently provides on-demand delivery for select stores.
“Uber Eats’s goal is to meet customers’ growing desire to get (almost) anything they need delivered on-demand, and this expansion will supercharge the wide variety of groceries available on the app,” said Lucas Groeneveld, Uber Eats’ regional general manager of retail.
The TWU national secretary, Michael Kaine, said the union will “hawkishly” monitor the arrangement. “For the first time, there is now a genuine, constructive opportunity to turn that around and build better working conditions,” he said.
It will be interesting to see how this partnership will impact the Australian gig economy, especially since the government is planning on introducing new regulations affecting gig economy workers. Nevertheless, this new partnership with Coles supermarkets will give Uber Eats access to more customers than any other grocery store in Australia and provide a fast, reliable, and affordable option for Australians looking to have fresh produce and groceries delivered to their doorstep.