SUSPENDED riders of Foodpanda in Davao City filed labor complaints before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) against the management.
In a statement, several members of the Davao United Delivery Riders Association Inc. (DUDRAI) personally filed their complaint against the food delivery app management on Monday, August 23.
DUDRAI said the complainants were among those delivery riders unjustly suspended by Foodpanda for 10 years.
DUDRAI president Edmund Carillo explained that their demands to Foodpanda include giving the riders their rightful earnings and benefits, alongside transparency in the computation of said earnings.
They also raised issues on the insurance and social protection for the delivery riders.
"It has been more than a month, but we have not received any reply from the management on the issues of the riders' status of employees and their entitlement to workers' benefits and protection. Instead of listening, the management off-boarded several riders for voicing their sentiments," Carillo said.
On July 15, around 300 delivery riders protested against the management following the reduction of their pay and untransparent computation of their earnings. The former also raised the issue of the problematic delivery schedules and the absence of health and life insurance for the riders.
"We are essential workers, and it is high time that we challenge Foodpanda's narrative that we are mere independent contractors. We assert that we are not independent contractors, but employees, and thus deserving of workers' rights and protection," said Carillo, arguing that delivery riders fall under the category of employees under the control test.
Carillo added, "We are essential workers, and our work is vital to the company's operation. Foodpanda has been amassing large profits because of the food we deliver from food chains to the customers. We are under the company's control from the moment we log on to the food delivery app, but when we have concerns regarding our rights and welfare, we have no management to turn to."
The riders also held a picket rally today in front of NLRC in Davao City to once again call for decent living, just and rightful earnings, and benefits for food delivery riders.
SunStar Davao reached out to Foodpanda for comments on the recent actions of the riders, but they have yet to respond as of press time. But the management said in a previous statement that they offboarded 37 riders who were found to have violated the agreement "which all foodpanda riders agree to."
"These violations included making fake bookings and instigating other riders to jointly breach their agreements with the company," the firm said.
With regards to some riders who were slapped with a 10-year suspension, the management said it is a "system glitch" and they are addressing the error.
In terms of the complained riders’ fee, the management said it is calculated based on multiple factors that include the route and distance of the delivery, making the payment structure more organized and fair.
"Riders’ earnings on each order are transparent at the point of their accepting each order before proceeding. If an order falls under a Free Delivery campaign, foodpanda shoulders the full delivery fee so riders still get their full fee for those orders," Foodpanda said.
The company said it is "always working hard to keep operations running smoothly everyday -- so that restaurants can get orders, riders can deliver them for a living, and customers receive satisfactory service."
It also said that it is open to feedback for improvements and it will continue to initiate regular dialogues to help riders better understand their earning structure and other benefits available to them.