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Thursday, Jan 20, 2022

Rider left out of pocket as Foodpanda denies liability for injury on duty

A 58-year-old foodpanda delivery man who suffered a bone fracture and torn ligament in his left hand during work will not be compensated by the company, which claimed that there is no employment relationship between them.
The biker called Bo staged a press conference on Thursday, accompanied by Stanley Ng Chau-pei, chairman of Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, and Tong Kang-yiu, president of the Service Industry General Union.

Bo's left hand was still wrapped in a bandage when he attended the press conference. He said he joined foodpanda in October last year and became one of their riders, adding that an incident took place one day in July this year.

He was riding on his bike to deliver food when the wheels of his motorcycle suddenly went out of control. He turned the handlebars of his motorcycle sharply and was thrown off of the bike. He then found his hand twisted, causing him a lot of pain.

He notified foodpanda on the app after the fall that he could not continue working and suspended his shift. He then went to the accident and emergency department of Tin Shai Wai Hospital.

Later, he was transferred to Pok Oi Hospital in Yuen Long, where a doctor said he sustained a bone fracture and torn ligament in his wrist. Bo also underwent surgery and stayed at the hospital for five days.

Bo said he paid all fees for the hospitalization and filed a claim for compensation from foodpanda to the Labour Department. However, foodpanda replied that there is no employment relationship between Bo and the company, and it will not compensate Bo for all the medical fees.

Since this July, Bo has been undergoing physiotherapy and occupational therapy every week, and he is still unable to work.

The union is now helping Bo file an appeal to the District Court and apply for legal aid. Ng said electronic service platforms should be regulated and licensed by the government and urged the Labour Department to investigate whether the employment mode of foodpanda breaks the law.

Solicitor Lau Kar-wah referred to an Uber case of the United Kingdom Supreme Court in February this year, which confirmed that Uber drivers are workers and not independent contractors, saying the same should apply to the foodpanda delivery fleet in Hong Kong.

He added foodpanda has absolute control over most features, such as the distribution of customers, delivery fees, and the punishment mechanism, a problem that must be dealt with for workers.

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