2 food delivery drivers die within 3 days, Taiwan govt. threatens fines

MOL threatens fines after Foodpanda, Uber Eats drivers die over Taiwan's National Day holiday

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Scene of Foodpanda crash. (Taoyuan Police Department photo)

Scene of Foodpanda crash. (Taoyuan Police Department photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Labor (MOL) is threatening to fine food delivery companies after two drivers perished over Taiwan's National Day holiday.

While making a delivery in Taoyuan at 11 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 10), a 29-year-old Foodpanda delivery man surnamed Ma (馬) was killed after his scooter suffered a head-on collision with a flatbed delivery truck driven by a 25-year-old man surnamed Tseng (曾), reported CNA. After being rushed to the hospital, Ma died the next morning, and Tseng was charged with negligent homicide (過失致死罪).

On Sunday, a 20-year-old Uber Eats deliveryman surnamed Huang (黃) was rammed from behind by a car while making a delivery in Taipei's Shilin District, reported TVBS. During the accident, Huang became pinned between two cars, and after being taken to a nearby hospital, he too succumbed to his injuries.

During a session of the Legislative Yuan on Monday, Labor Minister Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said that investigations of Foodpanda and UberEATS will be carried out first. She stressed that the legal relationship between the companies and their delivery drivers is not their decision to make and that "companies without insurance will be punished," reported CNA.

When asked by reporters about the accidents that occurred over the holiday, Hsu said that the MOL regrets the deaths of the two drivers. She added that she has directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to investigate the relationship between the food delivery companies and their drivers, whom the companies claim are "outside contractors" rather than employees.

Hsu said that as long as the companies are found to have an employer-employee relationship, "whether or not they have insurance, they must be held responsible." She warned that if the companies do not provide insurance for their drivers, they will be subject to punishment.

Hsu noted that there are currently 80,000 delivery drivers employed by seven food delivery companies in Taiwan. Out of those seven firms, three — Foodpanda, Uber Eats, and Lalamove —consider their drivers "outside contractors."