Tue, Oct 22, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Association drafts rules to protect food couriers

SAFETY FIRST:At a meeting on Sunday, companies, including Uber Eats and Foodpanda agreed that they must consider how to better protect food deliverers

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Sharing Economy Association, Taiwan (SEAT) yesterday said it has drafted self-disciplinary rules that would apply to all of its members, which it would soon present to the public and government as part of its commitment to ensure the safety of food delivery personnel.

The association’s representatives, including those from Uber Eats, Foodpanda, Deliveroo, GoGoVan and Lalamove, on Sunday met with Minister of National Development Council Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶), government officials and experts from the private sector following a recent series of traffic accidents involving the deaths of food couriers.

Participants reached consensus on several issues, with the top priority being to decrease the road safety risks facing delivery workers, and enhancing the safety of the food delivered to consumers, the association said.

Association chairman Andy Peng (彭仕邦) told a press conference in the Legislative Yuan yesterday that it would use the draft of self-disciplinary rules as a way to maintain communication with government officials.

“The evolution of digital technology has brought both opportunities and challenges. We believe that communication based on statistics would help us find better solutions,” he said.

Peng said food delivery services face diverse problems.

Some companies have a work force in which 90 percent of their delivery workers are under the age of 40, whereas others have more middle-aged workers who are re-entering the workforce, he said, adding that there are many complicated factors that need to be taken into consideration.

When asked if the association would recognize the relationship between the companies and delivery personnel as one of employers and employees, Peng said that such issues would only be clarified through many discussions.

“All parties have agreed that we need to start by communicating with one another, and in so doing we would know the difficulties facing the different parties. We take into consideration the fact that many of these delivery workers do not work full-time and have flexible work schedules, and we will find the best way to define the relationship.”

At Sunday’s meeting, participants agreed that the self-disciplinary rules proposed by food delivery companies should consider what sort of insurance would be provided to workers and whether they must deliver food under severe weather or dangerous road conditions.

In terms of food safety, the rules should state that food couriers should properly place food in clean containers.

Taiwan has about 80,000 to 100,000 people working for these food delivery platforms. Many of these workers are in-between jobs or have to take care of sick and elderly family members.

Participants also noted that the jobs created by food delivery companies help the unemployed and that the government should consider legislation to benefit these workers.

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