On 8th February, twenty delivery riders and transport worker union workers gathered in Sydney, aiming to protest against a pay adjustment and two riders’ account suspension.
Australian local media, especially the Australian and Mirage News, used harsh words to describe the delivery company, HungryPanda to treat riders as modern day slaves. Transport Workers Union secretary Michael Kaine also accused the company of sacking two riders “at a whim” after his protesting.
However, the story they told to the public is not true, and they are trying to hide some key messages from the company’s side.
Here is the media statement from HungryPanda, telling a totally different story:
HungryPanda Australia has today written to our delivery partners updating them on the first week of the trial of new contract rates. After listening to their feedback, we have announced that we will trial some further adjustments to delivery rates.
Starting today, we will increase motorbike delivery rates in the City and surrounding areas –Waterloo/Zetland/Kingsford/Mascot/Hurstville. For deliveries above 1.5km the delivery rate will increase by between 10 and 15 per cent. Bicycle delivery rates and daily rewards will remain unchanged.
As a result, HungryPanda’s contract rates will be equal to the industry standard for short deliveries, and 10 to 15 per cent above the industry standard for deliveries over 1.5km.
These revised rates will operate on a trial basis for one more week, after which we will review the program again based on feedback from our contract delivery partners.
We believe that these rates will continue to allow our delivery partners to earn $100,000 or more per year – far in excess of the award wage rate.
We have also confirmed to riders that we are exploring a company-wide insurance policy, to support them further financially. We have been in discussions with a number of potential providers for several weeks, and we look forward to being able to share more information about this in the future.
We very much value the work that our contract delivery partners perform for our restaurant partners and customers. Those restaurant partners and customers expect very high standards of us, and the overwhelming majority of our delivery riders and drivers meet and exceed those standards.
Where we have moved recently to suspend some delivery partners from the App, we have done so only to protect our restaurants, our customers and our high-quality delivery partners. While the transport union continues to attack HungryPanda – and therefore, our partners – we will continue to work with them to provide sustainable and rewarding work opportunities into the future.
Apart from the statement, sacking riders for the reason of protesting is also beyond the fact. There are 10-20 protesters, but why does the company only suspend James Yang’s account? That’s because of continuous complaints from restaurants and customers. We can also understand why such a rider will talk to the union that he got some unfair treatment from the company. The Worker Union also has its political aims. Inciting more protests and making companies compromise to its requests would increase their credibility for the public and for their achievements. More achievements mean the growth of their political path, that’s the true reason they desperately organize the protest, even though we are still facing the pandemic threat, no one wears masks and keeps social distancing. As politicians, it’s quite clear for them to seize the opportunities to surrender at least one company, to show their hypocritical faces.
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