Author: Tronserve admin
Monday 2nd August 2021 11:16 AM
Japan's Uber Eats Union Wants Better Accident Compensation Amid Virus
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The labor union for Uber Eats delivery staff in Japan called Tuesday for greater injury compensation, as growing demand for its service amid the coronavirus outbreak poses a higher risk of accidents.
The union representing staff for Uber Technologies Inc.'s food delivery service said it found that about 40 percent of workers involved in 31 accidents between January and March were forced to take leave of over one month due to their injuries. But compensation provided by the U.S. food delivery service operator fell short of covering their medical fees in many such cases, the union said.
"The reported accidents are the tip of the iceberg," Toshiaki Tsuchiya, a union member in charge of accident investigations, said at a press conference in Tokyo.
Tsuchiya said he is concerned about an increase in accidents in line with the rise in food delivery demand, with customers opting to eat at home rather than eating out amid the virus spread.
"The number of staff riding bicycles is rapidly increasing because they don't need a driver's license, but there are no lectures on basic traffic rules by the operator. The quality and safety of staff cannot be ensured," he said.
"The more workers we have for our food delivery service amid the virus pandemic, the more accidents we have consequently," he added.
The U.S. operator said in April the number of restaurant contracts in Japan increased about 20 percent in March from the previous month, as local authorities including the Tokyo metropolitan government requested that people stay home to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Japanese unit of the Uber Eats operator started an injury compensation program last October, which provides up to 250,000 yen ($2,300) for injuries per accident. The union also called for broader compensation coverage, as the company currently compensates for injuries only when delivery staff are "on trip" -- namely, traveling to a restaurant to pick up food and finishing deliveries.
The service operator has forced delivery staff involved in traffic accidents to negotiate with other parties for compensation, offering little support for either of them, the union said.
A woman in her 60s who was injured in an accident with an Uber Eats deliverer said at the press conference she wants the company to consider how compensation can be provided to people hurt in such a situation.
The woman said she was hit by an Uber Eats delivery worker on a bicycle last month on a sidewalk in Tokyo and hospitalized to have surgery for a fracture around her right eye. But she has not received any compensation from the U.S. delivery service operator or the delivery staff.
"The Uber Eats operator just asked me to consult with the insurer that provides the injury compensation program for its delivery staff. It should support victims responsibly," said her husband who also attended the press conference.
The union filed a petition earlier this year with the office of the Tokyo metropolitan government in charge of arbitration of labor disputes, after the Japanese unit of the U.S. operator rejected collective bargaining to talk about working conditions with the union.
Uber Technologies has said its delivery staff are "not workers under the Japanese labor union law but independent contractors."