Business / Corporate

Tokyo Uber Eats union demands hazard pay and equipment to protect against virus

Kyodo

A labor union representing employees of Uber Technologies Inc.'s food delivery service Uber Eats on Friday called for hazard pay and coronavirus protection for its delivery staff on the front line of the pandemic.

Kento Suzuki, vice chairman of the union, which has about 30 members, said Uber Eats workers are constantly under threat of infection and fear they could spread the virus while coming and going between restaurants and customers.

"We are putting our health on the line for the company's food delivery business," Suzuki said at a news conference in Tokyo, noting workers have to buy their own masks and disinfectant because the Japan unit of the U.S. ride-hailing company does not provide them.

The union said the company should safeguard delivery staff against potential COVID-19 infection by providing personal protective equipment. It also demanded they receive additional payments of ¥300 ($2.8) per order as hazard pay.

The union said it is not aware of any coronavirus infections among the more than 15,000 Uber Eats deliverers in Japan.

The union members and their lawyer handed a petition with the demands to Uber's Tokyo office on Monday but said the company has yet to reply. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The union was formed in October to negotiate contract terms and seek improved working conditions for Uber Eats employees. Uber has been criticized for not providing adequate accident compensation and other benefits to its contract workers, who are referred to as "platformers."

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