MANILA - Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Thursday the government should pass a new law protecting delivery riders following reports of alleged irregularities that some had experienced.
"Kailangan talaga ng batas para ma-cover itong relation ng ating mga riders at platforms," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(We need a law to cover the relationship of the riders and their platforms.)
Bello's office on Tuesday released an advisory in order to help set the standards in determining the working relationship between delivery riders and food delivery companies.
Delivery riders considered employees of food delivery apps are entitled to minimum benefits under the Labor Code of the Philippines, he said.
The benefits of employed riders are minimum wage, holiday pay, premium pay, overtime pay, night shift differential, service incentive leave, 13th month pay, separation pay, and retirement pay. They are also entitled to get occupational safety and health (OSH) standards benefits, including from SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG, as well as other benefits under existing laws.
But those deemed as independent contractors or freelancers will be governed by their respective contracts or agreements with the digital platform company, Bello added.
This comes after foodpanda offboarded dozens of riders for allegedly protesting the company's new payment scheme that reduced their wages.
Edmund Carillo, president of Davao United Delivery Riders Association Inc., said 32 out of 43 riders have yet to be given access again by foodpanda for catering deliveries.
He said they were supposed to have a dialogue with foodpanda in Davao City on July 26, but no company representative arrived. They later learned that foodpanda already met with DOLE on July 22, he added.
"Hindi rin namin maintindahan kung bakit hindi sila humarap sa amin kasi may schedule naman," Carillo said.
(We couldn't understand why they didn't face us when there was a schedule.)
Due to the new payment scheme, he said he was now earning only P700 per day.
"Bawasan pa ng gasolina, pagkain, load at iba pang gastusin. Take-home ko nalang nasa P200 nalang," Carillo said.
(Expenses for fuel, food, load and others would have to be deducted. So, Mmy take-home pay is about P200.)
In a statement released Tuesday, foodpanda said it would continue regular dialogues "to help riders better understand their earnings structure, and other benefits available to them."
The company said it offboarded 37 riders after violating agreement with foodpanda.
"These violations included making fake bookings and instigating other riders to jointly breach their agreements with the company," it said.
Foodpanda also said the 10-year suspension it imposed to some riders was a "system glitch".
"Our technical team has taken all the necessary steps to address this error and we have explained the same to riders who have attended our invitations for open dialogue," the company said.