Family of driver Xiaojun Chen, who died at work, awarded $ 830,000 in compensation

Written by Javed Iqbal

The widow and children of a food delivery driver who was hit by a bus and killed in Sydney will receive a $ 830,000 payout after a landmark court ruling found him employed.

Xiaojun Chen, 43, died while riding a motorcycle for the Hungry Panda in the suburb of Zetland in September 2020, leaving behind his wife Lihong Wei, their two children and his 75-year-old father, who all live in China.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said the Personal Injury Commission found Mr Chen entitled to workers’ compensation after Hungry Panda admitted responsibility for his death.

Wei, who had to say goodbye to her husband via video calls from rural China to a hospital in Sydney, said her husband worked in Australia to send money home to her family.

“My kids miss their dad every day,” she said.

“My daughter has started struggling with school and my son has lost his father forever, only eight years old. Nothing can ever solve this.”

Xiaojun Chen with her children in China pushes her son on a swing near a river
Xiaojun Chen’s wife and two children live in China.(Delivered)

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine welcomed the decision and praised Mrs Wei for seeking compensation.

“After two long years, justice has finally been done for Xiaojun’s family,” he said.

TWU has campaigned for food delivery riders to have rights such as minimum wage and work compensation, regardless of which “contractor” mark is imposed on their jobs.

A woman wearing all black stands in a lane.
Lihong Wei says her children “miss their father every day”.(ABC News: Jack Fisher)

Jasmina Mackovic of the law firm Slater and Gordon said the decision was “the first of its kind in a work compensation sense”.

“Gig economy workers and their families are usually denied any rights because they are considered independent contractors rather than employees, which means they are not able to access workers’ compensation and other benefits such as cancellation of leave and sick leave,” he said. she.

The University of Sydney’s industrial relations expert, Chris F Wright, said it was an important decision.

“It is a decision that goes against the legal development of the last few decades in Australia in the field of employment, which has largely gone against workers and for the benefit of employers,” he said.

The federal court has previously ruled that a Foodora Australia delivery driver was employed when he was unfairly fired.

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