labor rights

Foodpanda riders, suspended for 10 years, only wanted decent income

Aika Rey
Foodpanda riders, suspended for 10 years, only wanted decent income

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'Ang hinaing lang naman namin talaga 'yung earnings namin. Sila ang nagpalala ng issue,' says Edmund Carillo, leader of the delivery riders' group in Davao City

Edmund Carillo, 37, was as surprised as everyone else when he learned that food delivery giant Foodpanda was suspending him for 10 years.

He said he and other riders in Davao City wanted to take time off from work last Wednesday, July 14, and Thursday, July 15. This, he said, was a form of silent protest against the smaller pay that they had begun to receive amid the reopening economy.

“Rest day lang sana kaming mga riders dito sa Davao. Bale hindi sila kukuha [ng bookings] para makapagpahinga kasi sobrang liit na ng nakukuha namin,” Carillo, president of the Davao United Delivery Riders Association, told Rappler.

(The riders here in Davao just wanted to rest on those days. We opted not to take bookings in the meantime so we could rest, since we’ve been getting very small payouts.)

But Carillo said it was Foodpanda that made them go out on the streets, after he and 29 others were suspended from July 13 all the way until 2031.

“Ang hinaing lang naman namin talaga ‘yung earnings namin. Sila ang nagpalala ng issue. Walang nag-planong mag-rally. ‘Yung iba nagplano lang na maligo sa sapa, mag-ikot sa Davao,” said Carillo.

(Our only complaint is really our earnings. It was the company which made matters worse. Nobody had planned to hold a rally. Some only made plans to swim in a stream or go around Davao.)

“Nag-rally kami dahil tinanggalan kami ng access ng 10 years (We only mounted a rally because our access to the app was revoked for 10 years),” he continued, adding that 70 more riders who joined last Thursday’s rally were also suspended.

Foodpanda said, according to Carillo, that they were suspended because their planned “no-show” was a violation of the freelance agreement.

Carillo also said one rider was even accused of making a fake booking, which became the reason for his suspension.

Foodpanda, in a statement emailed to Rappler, called the protest a “disruption that may affect the wider ecosystem” of other riders, vendors, and customers.

The company said it was aware of the concerns raised by Carillo’s group.

“To ensure that the platform remains reliable for all our users, we sometimes have to take difficult actions to mitigate operational interruptions,” Foodpanda said.

Rappler asked a company representative about the specific provisions violated by the riders, but the person declined to share details at the moment.

As of Tuesday, July 20, the number of suspended riders has gone down to 43. Carillo said some riders were reinstated after they divulged information about the protest. The company, meanwhile, said some riders were again onboarded “after a screening process.”

Dialogue with Foodpanda

Before, riders could earn as much as P55 per delivery. According to Carillo, they now earn around P27 per booking, but the final figure still depends on the distance. Sometimes, they earn as low as P23 per booking.

Carillo said the new pay structure was enforced in May 2020, but he initially did not feel its impact because there were more bookings during the lockdown then.

He used to take home up to P1,800 per day. Now, his earnings range from P500 to P800.

With him being effectively terminated by Foodpanda, Carillo said he has been depending on his wife for the needs of their family of five.

On Monday, July 26, the Department of Labor and Employment is expected to meet with Foodpanda management and the affected riders.

When they face the management, Carillo said, he and his group hope that their concerns will be heard and that the suspended riders will be reinstated.

On the part of Foodpanda, it said that it has always “tried to do its best” to give riders a better understanding of the fee structure and benefits.

“Rider pay structure takes into account route and distance among other factors, allowing for a fair pay structure that is higher than other industries,” the company said in the emailed statement.

“We have always been in constant communications with our rider community, so we can address and take care of their concerns. However, we also take rider integrity and conduct seriously as a responsible business to our vendor partners and customers.” – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.