foodpanda says looking into riders' concerns
MANILA - Over a hundred riders of the foodpanda delivery app called on the company on Wednesday to address their concerns on a new payment scheme and an unclear freelancing system that they said has resulted in lower earnings for them.
The group, wearing their pink uniforms and riding motorcycles fitted with the company's pink delivery box, held a 'unity ride' from Pasay City to the Department of Labor and Employment Office (DOLE) in Manila in a show of support for the advocacy.
Romeo Maglunsod, spokesperson for the foodpanda riders group KAGULONG, said the riders are not going rogue against the company but are instead asking for reforms in the delivery app's system.
"Kung hindi tayo magkakaisang mga rider, lagi tayong ganito. Patuloy tayong gaganyanin ng isang malupit na sistema na tinatago sa atin 'yong karapatan na magkaroon ng benepisyo at maayos na hanapbuhay," he told other riders before the motorcade.
At the DOLE office, a representative dropped off a letter addressed to Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III asking the agency to inspect foodpanda's operations and study the plight and rights of delivery riders, especially after the boom in the industry during the lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
STRUGGLING TO EARN
While they claim to have earned better--as much as P90 per delivery--back in the early days of the quarantine period, the riders said many of them are now struggling to earn the same, or even find rides.
A new scheme implemented in June computes the rider's pay by the distance traveled, which foodpanda Philippines has called "more organized and fair" for the riders.
But the riders said they have earned less with it, with one of them showing his pay of P11.45 for an 8-km ride.
They also decried a so-called batch system that determines their earning brackets and who gets scheduled to delivery runs.
The riders also take the brunt for fake bookings or delivery scams since these end up listed as order cancelations and could result in a rider's suspension, they said.
"Para ma-maintain ang batch, binabayaran ng mismong rider ang pagkain na inorder sa fake booking. Nangyari na rin ho sa akin. 'Yon ang pinakamasaklap dahil sarili naming pera ang ginastos namin para doon," said one rider who asked not be identified.
Worse, they said, while they are considered freelancers, they hardly have break time, are subjected to ratings, and receive their pay in intervals.
They said they have grown frustrated and felt neglected.
Since they have no insurance, riders' groups come together to "pass the helmet" when one of them dies in a road crash.
The riders asked if this was fair treatment for those who have been hailed as among the frontliners during the Luzon lockdown.
"Nagsasakripisyo kami. Lumalaban kami kahit may sakuna. Bumabagyo, bumibiyahe pa rin ang iba sa amin. Pero may mga pamilyang naghihintay sa amin. Naiisip ba nila iyon?" another rider told ABS-CBN News.
At the DOLE office, the group received a stern welcome from police upon their arrival.
Police asked the group for a rally permit and berated them for disrupting the area in Intramuros.
The tension dissipated and the riders left after explaining they only went to present their letter for Bello.
'LOOKING INTO' CONCERNS
In a statement sent to ABS-CBN News, foodpanda Philippines said it had communicated its new payment structure to its riders before it was implemented.
"With the new scheme, riders are now compensated based on delivery distance, making the payment structure more organized and fair. This new structure has been rolled out in stages across the Philippines over the past five months," it said.
Calling its freelance riders "valued partners," foodpanda said it provided "flexible opportunities" for them to earn, and is also working on giving other livelihood avenues.
"Due to the pandemic, foodpanda has seen an increase in the number of new rider applicants and we are working to accommodate applicants. In addition, foodpanda is also working with local government units to create new earning opportunities through initiatives like hiring displaced tricycle drivers in the pandaTODA program."
But the company said it is taking the riders' grievances into consideration.
"We want to assure our rider partners that the company is looking into their concerns," it said.
foodpanda, a subsidiary of international group Delivery Hero, currently operates in 50 cities in the Philippines.