Foodpanda couriers to stage grand protests if mediation fails

A note that reads
A note that reads "protest Foodpanda" is seen on delivery bags in Kaohsiung on Thursday. (CNA)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Foodpanda self-help group will organize a protest big enough to affect company operation, a lawyer representing the group said on Friday.

Chen You-sin (陳又新), lawyer and former district council candidate for the Social Democratic Party (社民黨), told The China Post that if no progress is made at the next labor-management mediation meeting slated for Monday, he will organize a campaign that will impact company operation and even lead consumers to “have doubt” in the delivery platform.

The first labor-management mediation meeting took place at the Taipei City Labor Bureau on Thursday after drivers around the country staged small strikes in protest of a new payment scheme that cuts the flat fee per delivery by NT$10.

The meeting ended with little progress because management sent someone whose pay-grade wasn’t high enough to speak about or decide on the matters in questions, according to Chen.

Foodpanda Taiwan has not responded to an inquiry from The China Post.

No official union

At the moment, there is no official labor union that represents couriers’ interest, Chen said. The self-help group is currently loosely structured. Drivers around Taiwan communicate in chat groups.

According to Neal Chen (陳永霖), the Taipei area representative of the drivers’ self-help group, some drivers in greater Taipei area have filed an application to form a labor union with the Taipei city government. The application has not been approved.

It is hoped that once the labor union is formed, drivers will participate in union events and advocate for its causes.

“Together then there will be a better chance to negotiate with management,” lawyer Chen You-sin told The China Post.

Liu Yun-chen (劉雲程), representative of the drivers’ self-help group for central-Taiwan said that the new scheme came out of the blue and that the move was “malicious”.

“We are angry because the company made the announcement unilaterally,” Liu said, “they allowed no room for discussion.”

Liu was among some 50 to 60 Foodpanda drivers who protested outside Taichung City Hall on Thursday. He said that they have reached out to local legislators in the hope of support.

Neal Chen, who currently works as a full-time delivery person on Foodpanda told The China Post that the new scheme has a huge impact on drivers’ salaries.

He said that he earned approximately NT$90,000 per month under the previous payment scheme. However, with the new scheme, he expected monthly pay to drop by 20 percent to around NT$72,000.

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