Uber Eats delivery staff in Japan plan to form labor union


Food delivery staff working in Japan for ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc said Wednesday they plan to form a labor union in a bid to improve what they see as disadvantageous treatment for being classified as independent contractors rather than employees.

"The delivery staff are working under the instructions of Uber, so they should be treated the same as employees," Yoshihito Kawakami, a lawyer supporting workers for Uber Eats in Japan, said at a meeting to prepare for the launch of the labor union.

Around 20 delivery riders attended the meeting in Tokyo, which was organized by the Japan Community Union Federation. They said they hope to recruit more members and launch the union later this year.

The move comes as the U.S. company is facing criticism for evading its responsibility as an employer by not paying social insurance contributions to provide delivery riders with accident compensation and sickness benefits.

The company insists that it does not hire workers and is just offering a platform connecting delivery staff, businesses and customers. But critics argue that a de facto employment relationship exists as Uber decides on payments for the delivery riders and manages orders.

Under the service, delivery riders on bicycles and motorcycles are directed by the company to pick up food and drink items at restaurants that have been ordered using the Uber Eats app and website.

The service is available in 10 cities across Japan including Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, with the number of delivery riders totaling over 15,000, according to lawyers supporting the Uber Eats workers.

"I'm afraid the operator won't compensate me if I have an accident during a delivery, as the risk is growing amid the glut of orders," a delivery man from Nagoya in central Japan said at the meeting.

Uber has been dogged by disputes over labor issues in countries such as the United States, where drivers for its ride-hailing service have set up labor unions. But Uber has refused to negotiate with the unions, according to the lawyers.


©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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You can't take a low end job such as this and then complain about it. Educate yourself before taking the role.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

The whole idea behind this type of business model is that as a worker you set your own hours when you need to. An Uber Eats Union? Okay, how about a Takoyaki Yatai Union?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

At least they should offer to pay some / half the insurance cost.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All forms of Uber are essentially a scam designed to enrich the founders and senior execs at the expense of low paid "gig economy" drones.  The fact that they don'r make money and live on round after round of external funding tells you that they are just trying to price existing properly regulated and priced services out of the market before ramping yup prices.  How anyone makes a living working for them is am mystery.  This type of move has been happening more and more worldwide.  High time too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You can't take a low end job such as this and then complain about it. Educate yourself before taking the role.

It's not about the "low end" job, it's about insurance really. Even the "unten daiko" driving services have insurance on their drivers and they get, down here at least, as low as 4,000 yen per night of work!

Under the car insurance here, if you use your private vehicle for a business enterprise the number plate and insurance are supposed to be different than that of a truly POV. There are many legal issues here that uber seems to want to side step, so THEY can make money, off the backs of their drivers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The low end jobs don't pay insurance. It's kind of a no-brainer.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Unionizing might restrict a drivers independence. As a company driver, or on your own; you knew the work is being farmed out when you took it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

...independent contractor, is what it implies. If your company won't offer these perks, then why should the company creating such independent contract jobs, need pay such benefit?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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