Most food drivers hired as staff: MOL

RECORDS AND INTERVIEWS::Inspectors found that of the 45,129 people working for delivery platforms such as Uber Eats and Foodpanda, only 1,363 are contractors

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Oct 31, 2019 - Page 2

The majority of food-delivery personnel are hired as employees, rather than contractors, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said yesterday.

The ministry said that the findings of a labor inspection conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, contradicted claims by food-delivery platform operators that their workers are contractors and not employees, so they are not obligated to follow the rules in the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) and Labor Inspection Act (勞動檢查法).

The inspection focused on people working for Foodpanda, Lalamove, Cutaway, Quickpick, Deliveroo, Uber Eats, YoWoo Food Delivery, Foodomo and JKO Delivery, administration Director Tsou Tzu-lien (鄒子廉) said, adding that Honestbee and Foodtoall have ceased operations.

Inspections were carried out by randomly selecting five or more delivery workers from each of the nine existing platform operators and asking them about their work relationship with their platform.

Five of the nine platforms hire their workers as employees, including Uber Eats, Lalamove, Cutaway, Quickpick and Foodpanda, the administration found.

JKO Delivery, Yo-Woo and Foodomo do not recruit workers, instead outsourcing the job to courier companies, while Deliveroo hires its workers as contractors, it found.

The inspection also found that the nation has 45,129 delivery workers, only 1,363 of which are contractors.

While five platforms hire their workers as employees, they do not follow labor regulations, such as maintaining worker record cards and workers’ attendance records, or subscribing to national labor insurance, the inspection found.

“We will hand over the collected evidence to local labor officials, who will determine the fines that platform operators should pay in view of their labor regulation infringements,” Tsou said.

Chu Chin-lung (朱金龍), an administration official who was in charge of this labor inspection, said that inspectors examined also examined records to determine the relationship between delivery workers and platform operators, including the contracts between operators and workers, delivery workers’ work schedules, how the delivery orders were given, and how workers are punished or rewarded.

They also interviewed the workers to verify the information they found, Chu said.

The business models used by food delivery platforms vary, Chu said.

Some platforms give assignments to workers directly, while others have food delivered by courier companies or other means, he said, adding that some platforms formed partnerships with cargo transport firms, but maintain a high degree of control over the delivery workers.

Using Uber Eats as an example, Chu said that it monitors workers’ whereabouts through its mobile phone application, adding that the company requires them to report to the system when a delivery is completed or interrupted.

The system also determines how many food orders a worker should deliver and how much they should be paid.

There is no room to negotiate salaries, he said.

Before attending a meeting at the Legislative Yuan yesterday morning, Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said that the ministry would help delivery workers form a union, through which they could join a labor insurance plan.

The Sharing Economy Association Taiwan said that the ministry should respect workers’ decisions and avoid using outdated laws to regulate new services.

It should not look at isolated cases and use them to destroy job opportunities for 80,000 delivery workers, the association said.

“We hope that the Executive Yuan will quickly convene an inter-departmental meeting to discuss this issue,” it said.