Chinese market regulator strengthens protection for food delivery workers

People walk past a Meituan logo at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai July 8, 2021. — Reuters pic
People walk past a Meituan logo at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai July 8, 2021. — Reuters pic

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BEIJING, July 26 — Food delivery platforms in China will be required to guarantee riders’ income above minimum pay, insurance and a relaxation in deadlines for deliveries, under reforms announced today by China’s market regulator.

The guidelines were issued by the State Administration for Market Regulation along with six other administrative departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission, the Cyberspace Administration of China and the Ministry of Public Security.

Food delivery platforms in China, including Meituan and Alibaba’s Ele.me, have drawn severe criticism on social media for their treatment of delivery riders, most of whom are not covered by basic social and medical insurance.

Both, Meituan and Alibaba’s Ele.me did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Meituan has been working with the government to purchase employment injury insurance for its delivery drivers, the company’s chief executive, Wang Xing, said on a conference call in May.

Investors are worrying about the rising cost of employing riders by the platforms, Reuters had previously reported.

Meituan’s Hong Kong-listed shares slumped nearly 14 per cent, against a 4.13 per cent drop in the Hang Seng Index. — Reuters

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