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Airbnb will pay union members $150 to sign up as hosts under an unusual deal the Transport Workers Union says is about ending the exploitation of delivery drivers.

Under the deal, Airbnb will actively promote food and package delivery companies that do the right thing by their workers – although the union says none currently meets its standards.

Airbnb will also put $50 for each new union host into a not-for-profit company set up by the TWU.

The union has been campaigning against food delivery companies including UberEats, Deliveroo and Foodora over pay and conditions for their workers.


The union said none of the food delivery companies in the market were meeting its benchmarks on ethical labour practices, meaning there were currently no providers Airbnb could endorse. But it said the new deal was about effecting change.

“This is really a call for companies to lift their standards, that there are opportunities for them,” TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said.

“Rather than going to the lowest standard, where people won’t get paid superannuation, don’t have workers’ compensation, and are paid below minimum wages, this is about encouraging the new economy to lift standards.”

Sheldon said the situation was different for package delivery, where there were existing companies worthy of endorsement for the way they treated their workers.

He said Airbnb would endorse deserving delivery companies by giving its own business to them, and by encouraging Airbnb hosts to use and recommend them.

For every new union host, Airbnb will also give $50 to Teacho, a not-for-profit company established by the TWU with employers and industry experts.

Its aims include improving research, training, industrial rights, and health and safety standards for transport workers.

Airbnb’s public policy chief, Brent Thomas, said ethical companies needed to do their bit to make sure “technology was a force for good”.

“With wages flat and the cost of living high, we want to empower working families by helping them earn extra income and promote good, well-paying jobs. We are proud to partner with the TWU which fights tirelessly for the rights of workers,” he said in a statement.

UberEats, Deliveroo and Foodora have been contacted for comment.



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