Food delivery startup foodpanda was established in Malaysia in 2012 and has been a regular in the scene since then.
We’ve all seen their riders in their hot pink shirts and matching insulated food carriers hitched on the back of their motorcycles.
Its 12,000 freelance riders across Malaysia are able to select desired shifts based on their convenience, and foodpanda also has a unique batch system whereby riders are allocated slots to work for their selected shifts.
On 28 September, the Managing Director of foodpanda Malaysia, Sayantan Das said that foodpanda is introducing a revised rider salary scheme that takes effect on 30 September 2019 for riders outside KL and Selangor.
He claimed that this scheme would enable riders to earn more income based on the orders they accept and that they have increased the rate per order that a rider carries out.
Here’s the example he gave: a rider that previously earned RM5 per order would now receive RM7 per order. Riders are also incentivised with an RM100 bonus upon completing 60 hours a week.
For orders between 11 PM to 9 AM daily, riders will receive an extra RM1 per order. foodpanda added that between 30 September to 6 October, a rider who completes a minimum of 80 orders will receive an additional bonus.
Not Quite As Good As It Sounds
While the information relayed seems positive, some foodpanda riders outside Klang Valley have actually gone on strike while others are planning to do so.
The reason for the strike is that riders are saying the new system will actually decrease their earnings rather than increase them.
Yesterday, Free Malaysia Today reported that foodpanda riders in Kota Kinabalu already went on strike, with over 100 of them gathering in the city centre from 8 AM to 2 PM on Sunday, refusing to work.
A spokesman for the protesters, Erwin Omar, said that riders will no longer be paid for the hours worked. Previously, riders received a basic salary of RM4 per hour regardless of whether or not they get an order.
Alongside their hourly pay, they also received RM5 per order, and an extra RM1 for each working hour on the weekends. Based on foodpanda’s batch hierarchy, Batch 1 to Batch 5 used to receive RM5 to RM3. In the new scheme, Batch 1 to Batch 6 will receive RM7 to RM4.50.
Erwin said, “We could earn between RM1,000 and RM1,400 a week under the old system but much less in the new one: we can only get between RM396 and RM630 for 30 hours of work.”
He added that new riders would get the short end of the stick because they were in the lowest batch, too.
To earn a spot in a higher batch, foodpanda riders would need to work more hours, which is made harder by the work schedule.
The new incentive of RM100 for riders in “Hot Zones” who complete 60 working hours in a week also failed to appease the riders, because Erwin told Daily Express that the old system enabled them to earn RM240 instead since they had the RM4 hourly pay.
Furthermore, shifts had been reduced which means fewer riders can be accommodated in the schedule, and riders are allocated only three hours of work at most according to the current roster.
This leads to fewer orders for riders, which means decreased overall salary. Excessive delay times between orders of up to three hours may also contribute to a lower income.
Chinese news publication Oriental Daily reported on 26 September that riders in Penang staged a peaceful protest and have further plans to go on strike for the week of 30 September to 6 October.
A rider who declined to be named also told MalaysiaKini that protests will continue in Johor, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan for three days.
Currently, there has been no response yet from foodpanda Malaysia to the protests and strikes.
We’ve reached out to foodpanda Malaysia representatives and will update this piece when they reply.
- You can read more about what we’ve written on foodpanda here.
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Featured Image Credit: foodpanda riders in Muar protesting / Amin Zaid @ FoodPanda Rider Malaysia