SINGAPORE - The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has called for legislative backing for associations representing self-employed delivery drivers and riders.
MP Yeo Wan Ling, who is also the director of NTUC's small and medium-sized enterprises arm U SME, said the associations needed to have their voices heard by the Government and delivery platform partners.
"We want to call for stronger legislative backing to better represent point-to-point self-employed persons to increase their protection and improve their livelihoods," said Ms Yeo.
Ms Yeo is also an adviser to the National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA), National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA), and National Taxi Association (NTA).
She was speaking to the media on the sidelines of an event to distribute National Day Cheer Packs to food-delivery riders, taxi and private hire car drivers, at Link @ 896 in Dunearn Road on Saturday morning (Aug 7).
Volunteers and grassroots leaders in Bukit Timah prepared 700 Cheers Packs worth more than $30,000, with each containing items such as supermarket vouchers, masks and rice.
Ms Yeo said it was important to address workplace safety for delivery riders and drivers.
"We have been highlighting the plight of these workers for some time now, and Covid-19 has only served to bring their plight to the forefront," she said.
"In addition to more legislative backing, we also want to call for greater protections in the area of workplace safety and better financial support for them."
The NDCA, NTA and NPHVA were set up to represent the self-employed in addressing work issues, enhancing support frameworks and improving their work prospects.
But the associations have little legislative support currently when it comes to negotiating with platforms such as Grab, FoodPanda and Deliveroo.
Mr Raymond Tan, 37, a delivery rider who is a pro tem member of the NDCA, said he hopes the associations will be empowered to speak up to the platforms for better coverage and protection.
"Because we're self-employed and not full-time employees (of the platforms), we do not get Central Provident Fund, we do not get MediSave, and have to contribute to it ourselves," he said.
"We really hope that the associations can help us speak up to the platforms so they give us better coverage."
Legislation affording the associations similar options as the unions or bringing them under the current union framework are possibilities, though the legal technicalities will have to be worked out, tabled and then passed in Parliament.
Asked when these issues would be dealt with by Parliament, Ms Yeo said she hoped it could be soon.
"We have brought all the three tripartite partners to the table to talk about this," she said.
"This is something that we have consistently brought up to the Government, and now there are some works under way. We hope that the changes will come sooner than later, because it is important that the voices of our drivers and riders are being heard."