The labor federation Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) on Thursday urged the government to provide protection to the growing two-wheel and four-wheel app-based riders who are playing a vital role in keeping the economy alive during this pandemic crisis.
Gerard Seno, National Executive Vice President of ALU, said motorcycle riders are emerging as one of the most vulnerable workers since the online selling apps came to thrive.
“We all saw and felt how these riders provided us convenience in our day to day lives, they are keeping the economy moving particularly during COVID19 quarantine lockdown yet they have no fixed wages and social protection benefits standards, and devoid of work safety and health standards for their well-being,” he said in a statement.
The group said motorcycle riders provide mobility service to app-based and online businesses and employers in transporting passengers, food and non-food deliveries amid constant exposure to air pollution, rain and extreme heat.
This is aside from the lack of safety protection against the risk of coronavirus exposure in their daily work operation.
ALU TUCP said although it provided jobs to thousands of workers in the formal and informal economy who were displaced by the pandemic shutdown, the emerging gig workers are only regarded by mobile and online apps owners and operators as mere “business partners”, “freelancers” and/or “independent contractors” to evade labor responsibilities and obligation that an employer-employee relationship requires.
“App-owners and operators, who should be the principal employers, also ignore the most important standard wages and social protection benefits and payment due these type of gig economy workers despite of a clear working existence of an employer-employee relationship between them,” said the group.
Seno said it is unfortunate that there is no law or policy that directly caters to welfare and interests of the growing motorcycle and four-wheel gig industry workers.
On Wednesday, some riders from FoodPanda Riders Association staged a motorcade rally in front of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Intramuros,Manila to ask the department to conduct an inspection on the disadvantagious enterprise’ new grading work payment scheme enforced recently by the company.