NTUC will work with the Government and delivery companies on several proposals to improve the working terms and conditions, safety and medical benefits of delivery riders in Singapore, said NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng.
Mr Ng was speaking on 26 August 2021 at the sidelines of a walkabout to meet delivery riders at Ang Mo Kio Central. The session was broadcast live on Facebook by Mothership.
The labour chief was accompanied by NTUC U SME Director Yeo Wan Ling.
“The best way to protect my workers is to create a win-win-win situation across the board for companies, for workers and for the Government so that this is a sustainable system,” said Mr Ng.
Mr Ng shared that he got sense of underlying concerns and even angst from the riders that they were not getting a fair deal for their efforts.
He added that the incentives that the riders are currently receiving are not within their control, and that riders are not covered by the delivery companies for medical insurance or CPF.
“There is a space for us to step in to deal with these areas. Wan Ling and her team have been studying this. Broadly, in three categories, I would say that riders need fairer terms and conditions, better workplace conditions and safety, as well as medical,” he said.
However, as delivery riders are considered self-employed persons (SEPs), they cannot be directly represented by the unions.
Ms Yeo said that the classification falls under a “grey area”, because although they are considered self-employed, they are more “employee-like” than business owners.
She said: “Usually for SEPs, you would set your own terms because this is your own business. You would set your own terms like what sort of charges would you be charging your customers, and what sort of hours are you open.
“However, if you look at this grey area of our employee-like workers, who are deemed to be self-employed, they actually don’t really set their own prices – they are price takers. That is, the platform offers them a certain price and they have to take it.”