The Ministry of Labor threatened yesterday to fine food delivery platforms that are allegedly dodging responsibility for their workers after two delivery men were killed in two separate crashes last week.
Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said some of the food delivery platforms operating in Taiwan claim that their couriers are independent contractors rather than employees, meaning that the companies do not have to provide them with labor insurance.
However, whether a food deliverer is the employee of a delivery platform company is defined by the labor authorities, not the companies themselves, Hsu said.
She added that her ministry intends to begin inspections of these platform operators and to clarify whether their delivery personnel are employers or contractors.
Even if the ministry ultimately agrees that the delivery personnel are working under contract only, it would still demand that the platforms insure their deliverers or face fines, she said.
Hsu made the comments when asked about the government’s response after two delivery men were killed in two car accidents on Thursday and Sunday last week in Taoyuan and Taipei respectively.
On Oct. 10, a 29-year-old Foodpanda delivery man, surnamed Ma (馬), was killed when his scooter collided with a truck driven by a 25-year-old man, surnamed Tseng (曾), at 11pm in Taoyuan, police said. Three days later, a 20-year-old deliverer at Uber Eats surnamed Huang (黃) was killed after his scooter was rammed by a car in Taipei’s Shilin District (士林) at about 6pm.
Commenting on the deaths during a legislative session, Hsu said that among the seven food delivery platforms operating in the local market, three of them — Foodpanda, Uber Eats and Lalamove — claim that they do not have employment relations with their deliverers, who work for them as “independent contractors.”
However, the remaining four platforms consider their deliverers as employees, and they are therefore covered by labor insurance, she said. According to ministry statistics, 80,000 food couriers are working at the seven companies.
To date, no food deliverer unions have been formed, Hsu said, adding that the ministry is talking to the deliverers and is to help them to form a union.
The ministry plans to talk with the Financial Supervisory Commission later this week to discuss possible new forms of insurance that could be offered to food deliverers.
Following inspections concluded yesterday at Foodpanda and Uber Eats, the labor ministry said it considers deliverers as employees of the two food delivery platforms.
Meanwhile, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said at a legislative session yesterday that on Oct. 2, his ministry published “delivery guidelines for the food delivery industry,” which stipulate that the platforms need to insure their deliverers.
Even though these platforms are registered in Taiwan as information services companies, they are operating transportation services and have to follow regulations as stipulated in Taiwan’s Highway Act and Transportation Management Regulations, said Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯), head of the Directorate-General of Highways under the transportation ministry.
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