In August foodpanda riders in Hong Kong submitted an open letter directed at the management following a fatal road accident of a fellow rider. In that letter – which is being supported by at least 25 rider unions internationally – they call for safer working conditions and compensations for the colleague’s family. (globalmayday.net)
Reaction by the management: Some warm words, little action.
In September foodpanda finally introduced long awaited changes to the distance calculation system, the so called “real distance calculation scheme”. BUT, at the bottom line it resulted in pay cuts. In reaction riders went on strike for longer than 24 hours during the weekend in mid-October. (globalmayday.net)
Reaction by the management: Some warm words, little action.
Consequently riders are back in action again and self-organized a second strike in a short period of time. On November 3rd and 4th (Thursday/ Friday) hundreds of riders refused to sell their labour and rallied at different points across Hong Kong instead:
On Nov 3 & 4, Hong Kong foodpanda riders had a strike of two full days, following the last one on Oct 15 & 16. The main issue is still the pay cut disguised under the new map system. This time, more zones are on strike and the service is shut down on a larger scale and to a greater extent. Riders become more experienced; the picket lines in some zones are performed in a highly organised way.
In the press conferences, riders’ show the unity and expose the lies made by foodpanda’s public relations. A motorcycle march is held at the busiest city centre.
The company still pretends that nothing happened and doesn’t listen to riders’ voice. The struggle will not end until they invite riders to table talk and fulfill the core demand for FAIR PAY and a TRANSPARENT distance system.
labour activist S. on the ground
We have at least 9 ‘delivery zones’ (that’s more than 14 districts in an administrative or commonly-known sense) where the Pandamart and most vendors are shown as ‘temporarily closed’. TST and Central are the busiest zones with the highest order volume.
– Tsim Sha Tsui
– To Kwa Wan & Hung Hom
– Lai Chi Kok & Sham Shui Po
– Central & Peak
– Tai Wai
– Yuen Long
– Tung Chung
– Tsing Yi
In many other zones there are also riders on strike. The strike is everywhere.
The demands are basically the same as last time, with only slight modification, as this time it’s an escalation following FP’s refusal to talk and denial of the issues.
- Fair Order fee
a. announce the distance fee formula
b. increase the distance fee rate and base fee
c. Stack orders: should get 100% order fee; should know the payment of each order and reject accordingly
- Freedom to decline and redispatch
a. No suspension due to low AR (acceptance rate)
b. Cancel the 3-redispatch-then-break rule
c. The requirement for Quest should be 75% AR
- Insurance protection
Increase the accident insurance compensation amount & extend the insurance coverage to 1 hour before and after the shift
- Vendor waiting time should be shortened
a. Shouldn’t assign to riders long before prepared
b. Waiting over 5 min should be paid
- Set 5 mins time limit for the customer to pick up orders
- Pandamart order weight should be limited to 5-6kg; auto-split should be done better
- Transparent and fair suspension & termination process: the company should bear the burden of proof
- Make the standard of the Proof of Delivery more reasonable
- CS (rider support) should be more efficient and helpful
- Provide extra fee for bad weather (rainy days, typhoons, very hot weather, etc)
- Company must ensure parking places for riders AND cover 2 tickets each month
For more than one year riders in Hong Kong have been waiting for Foodpanda (Delivery Hero) to implement the real distance map calculation scheme. Last month this new scheme was finally announced.
Now it turns out that the long awaited new scheme results in a pay cut.
Consequently riders get organized and went on strike today.
A fellow comrade S. on the ground reports:
The new real-distance map system in Foodpanda Hong Kong brings new problem. What riders feel is, the distance calculation is actually more accurate, but the distance fee RATE has been reduced, and the range for only paying the base fee has been extended. For example, in the old map, let’s say it’s $1 for every 1km outside the 1km base, now it becomes, e.g., $0.5 for every 1km outside the 1.5km base. Overall, workers feel the distance payment has been reduced by 40-50%, and the overall order pay and income reduced by 10-20%. It’s a PAY CUT.
Thus, after a discussion by representatives from different zones, workers decided to stage a strike from this Saturday 6pm to Sunday fall day. If no good result, they will not pick up Pandamart orders for the whole week and continue a full-scale strike on the next weekend. The main demand of the strike is to ensure transparency of and increase in distance payment.
An update shared a few hours later:
The strike started at 6pm 15/10 and will continue until midnight of the next day. In different districts colleagues gathered at ‘Pandamarts’ (Foodpanda’s grocery delivery warehouses) to do picketing there, convincing more riders to join the strike. All across Hong Kong a few hundred or maybe over a thousand riders are on strike. In a few zones the Pandamart operation was fully stopped and was shown in the customer app as closed. In two zones all the restaurant orders were also fully stopped. A press conference was held in the zone where the recent pay cut is the most severe, with around 50 riders attending.
Until the company invites workers to negotiate and give acceptable response to the demands, the industrial action will be continued by boycotting all Pandamart orders in the next week and staging another full strike next weekend.
And he emphasizes the need for international solidarity:
We request all colleagues from different countries to support the Hong Kong strike by reposting news in Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., with the following hashtags:
#foodpanda #foodpandaHK #DeliveryHero
If you can do solidarity action in any form, such as banners, demonstration, etc., and post them on the social media and share with us, it will be more than helpful and will encourage local HK couriers immensely.
It is highly possible the new map and distance calculation system will be launched in other countries as well. In many countries, colleagues (even not only in Delivery Hero, but also other companies) have been asking for a real-distance map, which HK just gets through last year’s strike, but the company distorts it and makes it a pay cut in a tricky form. This again highlights that we need FULL TRANSPARENCY in the algorithm of payment calculation, which should be a universal demand shared by all platform delivery riders, otherwise the companies can always cut the pay arbitrarily.
1. Fair Order fee
a. Announce the distance formula
b. Increase the distance fee rate
c. Stack orders should get 100% order fee
d. The base fee can’t be reduced
2. Freedom to decline and redispatch
a. No suspension due to low acceptance rate (AR)
b. Give us 5 chances to redisptach
c. The requirement for Quest should be 75% AR
3. Increase the accident insurance compensation amount & extend the insurance coverage
4. Vendor waiting time should be shortened
a. Shouldn’t assign to riders long before prepared
b. Waiting over 5 min should be paid
5. Pandamart order weight should be limited to 5-6kg; auto-split should be done better
6. Company must ensure parking places for riders AND cover 2 tickets each month
7. Transparent and fair suspension & termination process: the company should bare the burden of proof
8. Proof of delivery: rider can take picture without internet and upload it later
9. Rider support (CS) should be more efficient and helpful
10. Provide extra fee for bad weather (rainly days, typoons, etc)
Updates on the struggle can also be found on the twitter channel of the Riders’ Rights Concern Group.
A foodpanda rider died in an accident on July 26th in the streets of Hong Kong. Some colleagues and family members wrote a joint letter demanding from foodpanda to enhance work injury protection and review work safety risks.
Many unions of the #DeliveryHeroRidersUnited network already expressed their support for this initiative. The Riders’ Rights Concern Group (Hong Kong) calls on labour groups and rider unions worldwide to join this effort and sign the open letter by August 16th! The letter will be submitted to foodpanda Hong Kong.
To: foodpanda Hong Kong (Delivery Hero Hong Kong Limited)
We are heartbroken to see our colleague passed away in the accident on 26 July. As some of us work in the same zone, we know the brother was very nice and hardworking. Every day he rushed to work earlier due to recent pay cut by foodpanda, as well as a growing number of parking penalty tickets issued to him during the deliveries.
So, we share the sorrow with his family, and we hope his family can go through the difficult time. What makes us more painful is we know clearly that the same can happen to any of us.
We strive to run under the sun and in the rain just to make our ends meet. But if anything happens, the insurance, with such a low benefit level, won’t be able to support us and our family. Or maybe we won’t even be covered if it’s not during a delivery. Or foodpanda might not tell our families what happens until half a day later.
So what has foodpanda done to protect us in our work? What do we get as we risk our lives every day?
And it’s not only about insurance. We are rushing on the road faster because foodpanda cuts our wage and pushes us to complete more orders. We are working longer hours because foodpanda keeps recruiting more riders, making each of us get fewer orders. Also, foodpanda doesn’t help us with parking places and expenses. These all contribute to the risks in work safety. It’s all related.
Thus, we demand that foodpanda should:
1. account for the accident to the victim’s family, all foodpanda couriers, and the public,
2. raise the benefit level and broaden the coverage of the insurance
3. review all the factors that might lead to risks in work safety, including payment, control, app, etc.,
4. have a meeting with couriers on safety, injury, and insurance issues,
5. communicate with government departments about parking spaces, and cover some parking expenses.A group of Hong Kong foodpanda riders (July 28th, 2022)
So far endorsed by:
- Bangladesh Food Riders’ Union (Bangladesh)
- CGT Riders – General Confederation of Labor (Spain)
- Coordinadora Intersindical de Riders en Estado Español – CirRiders (Spain)
- Corriente Sindical de Izquierdas – CsiRiders (Spain)
- Free Workers’ Union (FAU) International Committee (Germany)
- GWTUC – Garment Workers’ Trade Union Center (Bangladesh)
- Horeca United (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
- Hsinchu Delivery Industry Union (Taiwan)
- Hsinchu Platform Delivery Workers Union (Taiwan)
- Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britan (IWGB) Couriers & Logistics Branch (UK)
- International Confederation of Labour (ICL) Working Group Asia
- IFAT – Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers (India)
- Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong – Kagulong (Philippines)
- Myanmar Foodpanda Riders Union (Myanmar)
- National Delivery Union (Taiwan)
- Pingtung Platform Delivery Workers Union (Taiwan)
- Radical Riders (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
- Riders Collective/ Vida Austria (Austria)
- Riders in Lotta Torino – Deliverance Project (Turin, Italy)
- S.V.E.O.D. – Base Union Assembly for Bike and Motorcycle Riders (Athens, Greece)
- Taichung Delivery Platform Service Industry Union (Taiwan)
- Taoyuan Digital Platform Delivery Workers Union (Taiwan)
- TEHİS – Tourism, Leisure and Service Workers’ Union (Turkey)
- TWU – Transport Workers’ Union of Australia (Australia)
- Vloerwerk (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
The struggle against the freelance regime and for the compensation of petrol expenses continues also in Greece. Following a four hours work stoppage last week, hundreds of efood (Delivery Hero) riders joined the strike rally in the city center of Athens on June 24th, 2022. Participation among the delivery workers was high. No business as usual for the bosses at efoods on that day.
Friends of Foodpanda Myanmar sent a solidarity message, which was read out to the striking riders and was published on the website of the Base Union Assembly for Bike and Motorbike Riders (SVEOD) in Greek and English.
Solidarity to efood’s riders from the Foodpanda (Myanmar) colleagues on strike
Dear colleagues of efood in Greece,
It has now been 17 days since we, Foodpanda (Myanmar) riders, have begun the strike (work stoppage) against foodpanda (Myanmar) for our labour rights on June 6th, 2022. During the first week of the strike, we launched blackcross campaign (i.e. a campaign that raises awareness about the exploitation of foodpanda), the second week of the strike focused on customer campaign (i.e. we distributed pamphlets mobilizing the customers to stand in solidarity with us) and in the third week of the strike, we began “Zero Customer” campaign (i.e. organizing and mobilizing customers until no single customer uses foodpanda). However, foodpanda is still ignoring our demands and has not yet responded to our demands. Thus, we will continue our strike.
Now, there are many difficulties that riders face due to political instability in Myanmar. For instance, riders have been stopped by authorities at checkpoints on the road during the delivery. When this happens, riders have no ID to show to the authorities that proves that we are foodpanda riders, and thus in certain occasions some riders have been temporarily detained. Moreover, the political instability caused the rise in the prices of basic commodities which are essential to the survival and the needs of us riders and our families. While foodpanda riders are suffering from such a toll of difficulties, foodpanda’s action of cutting down the delivery fees to its lowest, taking profit of the opportunities that the political instability offers, is very unfair and exploitative.
In the past, we used to get paid more than 0.55 $ per delivery and now we merely get 0.22 $. There are also losses for us in the payment due to the linear measurement of the distance between the order pick-up point and the drop-off point. This measurement doesn’t actually reflect the actual distance that we travel on the ground. We also have to use our own bicycles or motorbikes to carry out the deliveries (maintenance fees of these means comes from our pocket, too). In addition to this, we have to use our own money to buy the delivery box, the foodpanda uniform and the helmet of the company. Though foodpanda made an agreement with us stating that we are independent contractors/freelancers, we actually have no choice to choose the shifts we want to work for, in reality. This is because the freedom to choose the shifts is controlled by the batch system. The low batch (rank) riders can take up the leftover shifts only after the high batch (rank) riders have choosen their preferred shifts. We can’t have neither one holiday during each week, nor break time during the shifts because we are demoted once we take a break. Foodpanda also demotes our batch if we refuse to take an order with an unfair pay according to the distance. There are other computer system controls imposed on the riders (for instance: we are put in auto-break mode while we are working, demoting to lower batches without valid reasons, and closing our riders’ accounts under various reasons). Foodpanda company continuously recruits new riders without being able to gurantee sufficient delivery orders for the existing riders and imposes tight regulations on us. For these different kinds of oppression and exploitation, we went on strike against the company making the following 8 demands:
1. To set the minimum delivery fee to 670 kyats ($ 0.36) per delivery and increase the fee depending on the distance of the delivery and the batch of riders.
2. To restrain the strict rules of the computer system of the software that is controlling the riders.
3. To take responsibility for any accident or injury that happens during work hours. (Please be informed that we, the riders, will not accept the plan by the Foodpanda (Myanmar) after the recent negotiation to buy health and motor insurance with our own money by contracting with a third-party private insurance company.)
4. To let riders take a full break day a week without taking any shifts as destined by the company if they wish to do this because of their personal matters.
5. To use the Google Map system to determine both the travel distance of the order and to calculate the distance between the rider and the customer.
6. To notify and inform the riders, concerning any changes made by Foodpanda (Myanmar), formally through the company’s official social media pages and Telegram channels at least a week in advance.
7. To initiate a Hotline Phone number for riders to contact the company if they wish to resolve urgent issues or problems at any time.
8. To issue a Foodpanda rider identification card for the delivery riders.
While we (Foodpanda Myanmar riders) are on strike, we came to know that you, our colleagues, brothers and sisters riders of efood in Greece, are also fighting agaist the exploitation and violation of your labour rights by efood (Delivery Hero, the same company that owns Foodpanda). We, the Foodpanda Myanmar riders, stand in solidarity with you, efood riders. Let’s show Delivery Hero the power of the united riders!
Foodpanda Myanmar riders.source: sveod.gr
The rally also went in front of the Ministry of Labour. And the ministry reacted: It agreed that efood is acting illegally on several issues, e.g. not providing adequate means of personal protection and not properly reimbursing petrol expenses. The ministy confirmed to have a clarifying meeting with the workers and company.
Stay informed on future developments on #DeliveryHeroRidersUnited.
For the past few weeks riders and grassroot unions connected to brands of Delivery Hero (e.g. Foodpanda, Yemeksepeti, Talabat, efood, Glovo, PedidosYa) initiated a common network: Delivery Hero Riders United! The network is continuously expanding, delivery workers at Delivery Hero are uniting internationally to fight for their interests together!
While riders at Foodpanda Myanmar are still on strike, efood riders in Athens mobilize because the company announced to deprive workers with 4-hours contracts to choose their working schedule, with the intent of pushing them towards the freelance regime.
Today’s 4-hours work stoppage was participated by around 400 efood workers, who took the streets with a motorbike demo that ended at the central offices of #efood (#DeliveryHero). Management refused to accept our demands. Like always, we want victory and nothing less and so we’ll escalate the struggle and take the street again next Friday, 24th of June, but this time with a full strike. Until the company will not gave in to our demands, it will find us right against it.source: twitter.com
THE STRUGGLE DOESN’T STOP. ORGANIZATION – SOLIDARITY – RESISTANCE
Demands of efood workers:
- The company must give back to the workers with 4-hours contracts the right to choose the working schedule they prefer.
- The company must start hiring again workers with employee contracts and at the same time it must stop hiring freelancers.
- The company must give to employees with 4-hours contracts the possibility to switch to a full-time contract, for those that want it.
- The company must give compensation for gas expenses based on the actual kilometers travelled, as the law already requires, instead of basing the compensation on some other calculation.
Some Foodpanda riders in Myanmar used the day of protest in Athens to express their solidarity:
The Base Union Assembly for Bike and Motorbike Riders (SVEOD) provides more infomation on the struggle of efood riders: sveod.gr.