SINGAPORE - A relief fund to help e-scooter delivery riders facing financial difficulties will be extended to March 31, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said on Thursday (Jan 9).
The NTUC fund was supposed to close on Dec 31, following a government ban on e-scooters on footpaths from Nov 5.
But the fund's closing date was extended after a separate grant to help delivery riders trade in their e-scooters was itself extended from Dec 31 to next Tuesday (Jan 14) for GrabFood riders.
This e-scooter Trade-in Grant, set up by the Government and the three major food delivery companies in Singapore, allows eligible riders to trade in their e-scooters for up to $1,000 each to fund their switch to electric bicycles or personal mobility aids.
As for the NTUC fund, called the U FSE (Freelancers and Self-Employed) Short-term Relief Fund, it provides short-term financial assistance to help riders pay for daily essentials like food because they are unable to rely on their e-scooters to make deliveries due to the footpath ban.
Riders may also not be able to take on alternative employment because of constraints such as having a pre-existing medical condition or being the primary caregiver to children or the elderly. Hence the fund can offer them short-term financial relief.
More than 500 riders have signed up for the NTUC fund as of Monday. It was launched on Nov 15 last year, and riders can apply for the fund at pop-up booths at various locations.
Meanwhile, a training programme to help food delivery riders switch from e-scooters to e-bicycles has had 146 training places taken up by riders as of Monday.
A total of 168 affected food delivery riders have also approached NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) for employment and training assistance. Of these riders, 32 are also exploring new job opportunities, of which four have successfully entered the food and beverage and logistics sectors.
The training programme for delivery riders, dubbed Delivery Rider Kit, was launched on Dec 11 last year to support riders in their shift towards other modes of transport.
The programme was developed by NTUC with support from SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
The programme comprises five one-day courses which riders can choose to sign up for. The courses teach hard and soft skills that include how to engage customers in a positive way and win their trust and support.
Up to 90 per cent of the training course fees will be subsidised by NTUC, SSG, WSG and LTA, with fees for NTUC union members completely paid for.
For the short-term relief fund, non-union members can sign up for membership until March 31 to enjoy other union initiatives to help riders, such as one-time Kopitiam foodcourt and FairPrice gift cards valued at either $100 or $200.
At $9 a month, membership fees for the first three months will be reimbursed fully, so that those who join need not pay extra funds during the transition from e-scooters to e-bikes. Riders who want to apply for the programme should do so through their employers or through NTUC's e2i.