ONLINE DELIVERY firm Foodpanda Philippines has defended the removal of riders from its pool in Davao City who protested against the company’s wage policy following calls by lawmakers to investigate the case as well as the overall working environment of independent contractors.
The Department of Labor and Employment said it is scheduled to have a dialogue with the suspended riders on July 26.
In a statement to the media, Foodpanda said the management “made the difficult decision to off-board a small number of riders who have violated their agreement with Foodpanda by calling for disruptions that may affect the wider ecosystem (other riders, vendors and customers).”
It also explained that the company’s payment scheme for riders is based on the route and distance of the delivery services, which allows “for a fair pay structure that is higher than other industries.”
Foodpanda added that aside from earnings through deliveries, the riders “also enjoy benefits from our partnerships with other brands including discounts on fuel/mobile data, insurance at a significantly lower price for the same benefits, free merchandise, among others.”
Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Ferdinand R. Gaite, in a statement on Monday,
said “what Foodpanda did to their riders is unjust, it is unfair labor practice.”
Mr. Gaite also said the suspension only showed the existence of an employee-employer relationship, hence, it “clearly show(s) that their riders should be considered as employees and not merely ‘freelancers’.”
He said the House of Representatives will look into the matter.
Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros-Baraquel, in a separate statement, said she filed a resolution calling for a Senate investigation on the working conditions of freelancers.
“Given recent changes in the way people work, perhaps we should make sure our labor laws protect all workers and not just those regularly employed,” she said.
Foodpanda suspended 30 of its riders in Davao City last week, a day before they were set to stay offline in protest of the company’s wage policy. More were suspended for joining the protest.
Foodpanda said it has hired more delivery riders to replace those who have been suspended. — Bianca Angelica D. Anago