Singapore to improve the plight of gig workers

SINGAPORE: The government considers providing gig workers, such as delivery staff and drivers, with retirement and housing options, insurance, and negotiating rights.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed concern about delivery workers who work “just like employees” but are not insured and cannot afford housing, healthcare, and retirement.

Rights advocates claimed that due to the lack of labour laws that protect gig workers, online platforms have been abusing their freelancers, demanding long working hours for low wages, few health benefits, and minimal to nil insurance coverage.

According to the United Nations, half of the online workers earned less than USD2 an hour, with workers in developing countries earning 60% less than those in developed countries.

Danny Quah, the vice-chairman of a government advisory committee focusing on the sector, said that the workers must be protected now and in the future.

Yeo Wan Ling, an advisor to the National Delivery Champions Association and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association, called for stronger legislation to represent the workers.

Deliveroo, which has about 9,000 riders in Singapore, is open to the idea of improving the plight of its delivery workers but prefers that their freelance status stays as they are.

In China, regulators ordered online platforms to pay delivery riders above the minimum wage and provide them with insurance coverage.

In India, about five million people who work in the gig economy will benefit from a social security law that was introduced in 2020 but is yet to be implemented by the states.

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