Archive for Christopher Levay

Court Inquiry On The Gig Economy Might Lead To Meal Delivery Going Away

Aussies have a love affair with takeaway, with many couriers in Melbourne and across the country making a living delivering food for the meal delivery platforms like UberEats and Deliveroo.

There’s a problem, though, as these companies are under pressure regarding how they treat their delivery workers following a decision made by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) that deemed that a sacked Foodora worker was an employee, and not a contractor.

On November 16, 2018, the FWC ruled that a Foodora worker who spoke out on the pay and the working conditions the company’s couriers operate in, was unfairly dismissed by the food company. The worker is set to receive $15,559 in compensation in 21 days following the proceedings.

Foodora, owned by the UK-based Delivery Hero, shifted into voluntary administration for its AU operations back in August, but the decision by the FWC could have affects reaching out to the other delivery platforms operating down under.

By treating their couriers in Melbourne and across the country as contractors, companies like UberEats and Deliveroo avoid paying a range of benefits to them, which include, among other things, leave benefits.

In the case about the delivery worker, he only received $14/hour plus $5 for every completed delivery, back in 2016.  These conditions only worsened in 2018, prior to Foodora’s eventual shutdown in Australia.

The popularity of meal delivery platforms led to their rapid growth across Australia, but the law is catching up with the industry, and now many are wondering how the business model will move forward, especially if a broader precedent emerges.

According to Managing Director Athena Koelmeyer, Workplace Law, if riders being treated as employees becomes the norm, these delivery platforms will find it harder to operate. She says that the decision made by the FWC doesn’t mean the industry’s doomed, but it does make it clear that AU regulation is catching up with the gig economy.

Koelmeyer warned against assuming that everyone working in the gig economy is an employee, but stated that UberEats and Deliveroo will be looking at their operations in order to make sure that they aren’t crossing any lines; they operate via a platform, but when the riders sport their logos and give them other tasks, then they are, in fact, a part of the organisation.

The FWC has made several rulings in the past stating that riders are independent contractors, not employees, but Koelmeyer states that an overall precedent has yet to be set on the matter.

Deliveroo made no comment on the matter, but UberEats released a statement a few days after the FWC ruling saying that they are committed to building a long-term and sustainable business in the AU and are continuing their investment in their relationships with their delivery partners.



Automotive Marketplace Introduced By Facebook In Australia

We know how hard it is to find parts for vehicles such as brakes on the Gold Coast especially for vehicle models that were manufactured years ago or those that are not very popular. This is why it came as good news when Facebook announced that it is opening an automotive marketplace intended for the consumers in Australia. This will make it easier for car owners to find parts near them without having to go from one store to another. It is also a way for dealers to sell the vehicle parts they have online.

The parts sold can either be brand new or used as long as the buyer is aware of the component’s present condition. This is not the first time that the social media platform rolled out this kind of service because it is already available in the United States and in United Kingdom. Aside from Australia, the automotive marketplace will also be released in other markets in the weeks to follow.

The update on the application came a week after the introduction of “today in” which is a feature designed for local news. According to Facebook, the decision to launch a separate marketplace for the category comes from consumer data. They found out that the top category most browsed by users under the Marketplace is the vehicles category. The data is consistent internationally. Through the service, consumers can look at the inventory of second hand vehicles as well as auto dealerships via the current listing partners – The Drive Network, Carsales and Autotrader. As of the moment, the option is limited but Facebook is already working to expand it.

Through the service, Facebook users can chat with the sellers in real time using the messenger service under the social media platform. APAC marketplace partnerships manager of Facebook, Christine Chia, said that many users are already utilizing Facebook when searching for a new vehicle. The category is, in fact, one of the most searched within Marketplace.

With the introduction of a separate auto marketplace, users can easily find brakes on the Gold Coast and other car components they need without wasting a lot of time or resources.


Bottle Packaging Changes With The Rise Of Online Shopping

The packaging of the items we purchase online affects the courier costs therefore it is important for companies to reinvent the current packaging of their products to adapt with online shoppers. For many decades, the designs of the bottles used for packing goods are based on shelf presence. This was during the time when traditional shopping is the only option and consumers have to visit physical shops and go through shelves after shelves of products. This is no longer the focus because of the exponential growth in online shopping. Bottle designs are starting to morph into something that will satisfy the current demand of the e-commerce industry.

Designers will no longer have to focus on shelf presence. Instead, they are going to factor in efficiency for online shoppers. One example is the latest Tide Eco-Box which was released by Proctor & Gamble for their e-commerce consumers. They created the smallest packaging that will store the most amount of liquid while ensuring that the content will be delivered safely to the recipient. The most important feature is that the packaging used is functional.

It is common for online products sent to consumers to be packed with a few layers of packing. Often items are packed with bubble wraps and then two more layers of protection like cardboard boxes. When the parcel arrives, the consumer opens it and then throws away the protective packaging used which is a lot of wastes. This is why P&G decided to design the box known as the Tide Eco-Box which no longer requires extra layer of protection prior to shipping. The item can be shipped from the manufacturing facility to the warehouse of the retailers and then to the houses of the consumers.

The cardboard box used is sealed and intended to withstand shipping. The laundry detergent inside the box is stored inside a sealed bag. All the consumer needs to do is peel off one side of the box where the no-drop twist tap is located. The box also comes with a pull-out stand for easier access using a cup. The design of the box also lowers courier costs because it is compact and easy to ship.


Tourists Spending In Saigon Increases As They Stay Longer

According to survey, international tourists who spend their time in the commercial hub of Vietnam in 2017 were able to spend an average of $145 per day. This comes as no surprise as they want to experience everything from spa in Saigon to the best local restaurants and night markets.

Authorities from Ho Chi Minh City said that they are increasing the efforts they are making in order to encourage tourists to stay longer in the top metropolis in Vietnam. This is after they have found out that they are able to earn higher revenue from tourism this way.

The new shift in focus was prompted after an increase in the number of tourists that are arriving in the city. Last year, the city recorded 6.36 million international arrivals which are higher by 22.8 per cent compared to the previous year. Further good news for the tourism industry is the fact that these tourists are staying longer in the city as well as spending more cash.

According to a survey conducted at the middle of 2018 with regards to the tourism market, foreign tourists are spending around $145 for each day they are in the city in 2017 which is also the same amount as the spending of tourists in Thailand in 2016. The number is still lower than that of Singapore which is at $254 and Beijing at $242 as well as Taipei at $208. The survey was conducted by the Statistics Bureau and the tourism department of Saigon in partnership with Asia Pacific Destinations Index 2017 and MasterCard.

Domestic tourists in Vietnam, on the other hand, spend an average of $69.4 each day. The same survey revealed that the city is offering more the tourists thus they are staying longer – an average of 5.21 days while locals stay for 3.6 days on average. There are many things to do in the metropolis but spending mostly went to hotels, spa in Saigon, food and shopping.


Phuket’s Light-rail Targets To Start Operation By 2023

According to the Regional Bureau of Transportation and Traffic Promotion, OTP, Niran Kaetkeaw, the light-rail system of Phuket is on the right track with regards to progress. Mr. Niran shared that the e-bidding for the light-rail is set to begin in 2019 and the bidding will close the following year. As soon as bidding closes, construction will begin and the light-rail system will be completed in 2022. This is good news for tourists and businesses including Novotel in Phuket which will benefit from the project.

Mr. Niran added that the trial period will last for the first year and by 2023 the light-rail system will be fully available to serve the general public. The legal authority to monitor the project’s progress has been given to the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand or MRTA. At the same time, MRTA has been gathering feedback from the public as well as related agencies to help determine the terms necessary for the government tender which is under public and private partnership.

The report will be forwarded to the Ministry of Transport which will help in faster processing of the government tender documents. The first 41.7 kilometres will begin construction during the first six months of 2022 or before 2023 starts. The allotted budget for the first part is 30.154 billion baht.

The whole project will span 58.52 kilometers and the total cost will amount to 39.406 billion baht. The northern part of the route will stick along Thepkrasattri Road. The route was chosen based on the survey that showed that it provides access to a lot of communities located on both sides and it also pass through 40 different schools. The light-rail will be able to service the local residents as well as the students around the area.

Mr. Niran explained that the main goal of the light-rail system is to provide convenience and to decrease the population of private cars. Tourists departing from Phuket International Airport, on the other hand, can ride the light-rail and reach Phuket Town, their accommodations such as Novotel in Phuket or any other parts of the island without the need to hire or rent a private car.



First Supermarket For Molonglo Likely To Open By January After Delays

It makes sense to undertake shop fitouts in Canberra when the space needs to be furnished and organized for both the customers and the staff. Space will be maximized while improving its visual appeal. However, a fitout may not proceed according to plans when necessary approvals are not received on time.

Stephen Byron, the managing director of Capital Estate Developments and developer of Denman Prospect said in 2016 that a supermarket will open at the local shops by late 2017. It was supposed to be the first one for Molonglo. The shops at Denman Prospect were being fast tracked in response to the delays that have affected the construction of Coombs shopping centre. However, it was past the deadline and the shops have not been completed.

Based on the latest announcement, The Farm at the Denman Prospect will open in 2019 following the collaboration with Steve Smith that owns Yass Supa IGA. Nick McDonald Crowley, director of Denman Prospect said that although the deadline was amended, they were still on target for the centre to open in 2018 and the supermarket in early 2019. It is expected that the entire centre will be fully occupied by May 2019.

According to Mr. Crowley, some details of the shop fitout were causing the delay. The rooftop garden on the medical centre is supposed to be the largest green roof in Canberra. They have to plant more than 60,000 plants and shrubs. They want the shops to open earlier because they understand that the residents need it.

The Farm at Denman Prospect will be the largest retail space at the Denman Village Shops. There will be 8 specialty shops, a medical centre, a childcare centre, a gym and a café. Fitouts in some of the shops have started and glazing is currently going in the outer facades.

When shop fitouts in Canberra are undertaken, the objective is more than just visual aesthetics; space must be organized to maximize mobility and accessibility for customers. It is important to create the right look which will complement the nearby environment. Functionality must be appropriate to the size of the usable space.