DAVAO CITY—As many as 500 riders for food delivery app Foodpanda were suspended for a startling 10 years after they staged a “silent protest” against the new pay structure, which left them with much smaller payouts amid the reopening economy.
Edmund Carillo, president of the Davao United Delivery Riders Association said that a group of riders—himself included—only planned to take some time off from work last July 14 and 15. But the issue quickly turned dire when he and 29 others were suspended beginning July 13 up until 2031.
“Ang hinaing lang naman naming talaga ‘yung earnings namin,” Carillo said. “Sila ang nagpalala ng issue. Walang nagplanong mag-rally. ‘Yung iba nagplano lang na maligo sa sapa, mag-ikot sa Davao.”
“Nag-rally kami dahil tinanggalan kami ng access ng 10 years,” he continued, adding that 70 more riders were suspended, because, according to Foodpanda, their planned rest days violated the freelance agreement.
In the past, riders earned as much as P55 per delivery. But now, they earn about half that, with the final sum dependent on the distance. This new structure, implemented in May last year, made its effects felt only lately. Carillo himself used to earn as much as P1,800 per day. These days, he would earn only P500 to P800.
In a statement, the food service app said that their “difficult” decision was based on the situation’s effect on the “wider ecosystem”, referring to other riders, vendors and customers.
The issue grew when Sen. Risa Hontiveros called upon the Department of Labor and Employment to look into the “labor abuses” against delivery riders.
“Although [they] are not considered employees today, they are workers who work and help not only their families, but also the economy. As long as the DOLE does not issue guidelines or they do not intervene, nothing will happen,” said the senator.
She also filed a resolution to probe working conditions in the “gig economy”, the scope of which includes delivery riders, in order to identify and address labor issues.
On Monday, DOLE is set to meet with Foodpanda management and the concerned riders. It is Carillo’s hope that they will be listened to and that suspended riders will be onboarded once more.