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Labor Day 2024

A Cebuano food delivery rider’s pursuit of respect, fair wage

By: Emmariel Ares - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | May 01,2024 - 08:22 PM

food delivery rider

Naohde Vasyon, 55, said that he and hundreds of his colleagues in Cebu are suffering due to an “act of abuse” by the delivery service company they are working for. | CDN Digital photo / Emmariel Ares

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A few years back, Naohde Vasyon had a stable corporate job that allowed him to earn up to P30,000 per month.

But he was enticed to quit his job and instead join a popular delivery service platform because of the “tempting benefits” that were offered to him.

Vayson, 55, has been working as a food delivery rider for almost five years now.

READ: Cebu groups call for wage increase on Labor Day

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the demand for online delivery platforms in the Philippines saw a massive increase. 

Many opted to join the food delivery service as the need for new employment also increased due to massive layoffs and the closure of some businesses during the pandemic.

Vayson, for his part, joined an online delivery platform because of its offer of flexible work schedules and an income higher than the daily minimum wage.

READ: Labor Day 2024: Cebu engineer honors construction workers

When he started, Vayson said he enjoyed what he was doing because he had control of his time while earning “sufficient wage.”

He was able to earn P1, 000 to P1, 500 in delivery fees for working eight hours a day.

The father of six said that he was able to put food on their table, support the education of his children and pay for his gasoline and the maintenance of his motorcycle.

READ: Food delivery riders in Cebu seek immediate suspension of delivery permit fees

Disrespectful treatment

But things changed in 2022.

Vayson said he had to work at least 16 hours to earn P1, 000 to P1, 500 per day.

The situation worsened after he and around 200 other delivery riders filed a complaint against their delivery company for what he described as a “disrespectful treatment.”

READ: Food delivery riders help feed street dwellers in Cebu

In addition, they also experience a drop in their pay due to overbooking while they lack insurance coverage.

“Walay binepesyo, walay SSS, Philhealth, Pag-ibig. Nga og madisgrasya atong mga riders, walay insurance,” said Vayson who was elected president of the National Union of Food Delivery Riders Cebu Chapter or the Riders Sentro during its formal launch on Saturday, April 27, in Talisay City, Cebu.

The union consists of hundreds of food delivery riders coming from different online platforms who share the hope of bringing to light the various issues faced by their sector.

READ: Things delivery riders go through in a day

Fair compensation

And just like any other workers, delivery riders also look forward to getting fair compensation as they always give their best effort in their work.

Moreover, Vayson is also urging the public for their understanding.

“Among gihangyo ang publiko nga unta sabton mi nila. Para man ni sa amoang serbisyo sa katawhan. Para ni sa among katungod. Gilaban namo among katungod isip usa ka delivery rider,” Vayson said.

Now that the case that he and his colleagues filed against their employer has already reached the National Labor Relations Commission, they are even more determined to not waver until they see favorable results.

“Whatever happens sa NLRC, we will fight until Supreme Court. Ang paghawa, pasabot ana nga napildi ka. So, we will fight to the end. Dili mi mohawa kay amo ning katungod. Determinado gyud mi nga amo gyud ning malampasan og modaog gyud mi sa among kaso,” he said.

Food delivery riders union

Around 300 individuals participated during the official launch of the union in Cebu on April 27.  The gathering in Talisay City was followed by a unity ride to Lapu-Lapu City.

John Jay Chan, the spokesperson of the national union, said they are committed to help empower food delivery riders in Cebu by providing them with the needed seminars and by helping them in the event that they decide to bring their concerns to court.

“Ngayon ang hinihiling ng Rider Sentro Cebu ay una kilalanin ang kanilang identity as a union and makipag-negotiate kasi napaka importante na maayos ang representasyon ng mga rider at nagkakaroon ng mga maayos na dialogue para ma-address yung mga issue na dinaranas ng ating mga riders,” he said.

Chan is also urging other food delivery riders to join their group and to not be scared of threats of “union busting.”

“Ang mensahe ng ating union sa mga kasama nating riders, hindi lang dito sa Cebu kundi sa buong bansa, na kitang-kita na po natin yung sitwasyon natin ngayon. Nakikita natin kung anong problema. After all, at the end of the day meron lang naman tayong dalawang choice – either tiisin natin yung ganitong kalagayan or magkaisa tayo at baguhin ito,” Chan said.

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TAGS: benefits, food delivery rider, insurance

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