Surprisingly, Lawmakers from both chambers of Congress recently to urged the Department of Labor and Employment to look into reported incidents of labor abuse experienced by delivery riders of Foodpanda.
First reported by Davao Today, the food delivery app suspended some of its drivers for ten years for planning and joining a protest over significantly reduced pay. Under the country’s labor code, a suspension of an employee may not exceed 30 days.
They call on the DOLE to act immediately on the grievances of our delivery riders who are experiencing harassment by mobile app operators. Every day that they are upset is equivalent to one day that they have no income to take home to their family. This is what Sen. Risa Hontiveros said in Filipino in a statement.
Along with this, Rep. Ferdinand Gaite (Bayan Muna) for his part said he would definitely seek a congressional probe” at the House as he called on the DOLE to look into what he said was the “nefarious practice of supposed ‘individual contractors’ providing delivery services that should by law be considered employees of the company.
The delivery riders and other workers in what has been called the “gig economy” are treated as freelancers and independent contractors. Along with this, Gaite asked why planning a protest merits a penalty of suspension and why the suspension is longer than what the law allows.
They even questioned what kind of law is Foodpanda following? Wondering if they have their own labor code and bill of right.
The Davao City protest last week was not the first time that Foodpanda riders protested the company’s policies. In November 2020, riders went to the DOLE office in Manila to protest a change in the payment scheme for deliveries.
The Bayan Muna solon added that outside of the suspension, the company was already dodging alleged violations of the Labor Code by treating its riders as freelancers instead of employees.
Morever, Philippine jurisprudence in the case of Atok Big Wedge Company, Inc. v. Gison also holds that four conditions must be present to determine whether an employer-employee relationship exists.