The labor union for Uber Eats delivery staff in Japan on Tuesday called 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 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 of 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 news 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 more workers we have for our food delivery service amid the virus pandemic, the more accidents we have consequently,” he said.
The U.S. operator said in April that 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 people stay home to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Japanese unit of the Uber Eats operator started an injury compensation program in October, which provides up to ¥250,000 ($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.
A woman in her 60s injured in an accident with an Uber Eats deliverer said at the news conference that 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 news conference.
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