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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 January 29 - February 4  > Ultimate way to use disposable workers
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2020 January 29 - February 4 [LABOR]

Ultimate way to use disposable workers

January 31, 2020
For recent years, delivery persons of Uber Eats, a well-known food delivery service platform, can be seen in urban areas. This may be because of the simple procedure for becoming an Uber Eats delivery person.

A man living in Tokyo in August 2019 started to work as an Uber Eats “delivery partner”. According to the man, steps to become a delivery person are: present ID and other required documents through Uber’s smartphone app; watch videos at an office of the Uber Eats operator in Tokyo to learn how to complete delivery services with Uber Eats; and receive an Uber Eats delivery bag. This was all the man had to do before starting to work as deliver staff.

However, there are hidden risks that people working in the on-demand economy are facing.

The company operating Uber Eats does not enter into an employment relation with deliver persons. The company regards them as self-employed and contracts out the delivery service work to them. Consequently, the Uber Eats operator is able to evade abiding by labor regulations, such as the dismissal rules. So, if the company wants to discharge a delivery person, all it has to do is to suspend his/her app account unilaterally.

Uber’s way of using delivery workers is a typical example of the ultimate disposable labor scheme which allows corporations to ignore minimal employer responsibilities.

Past related article:
> Increase in precarious employment will cause ‘race to the bottom’ in Japan’s labor standards crisis [December 12, 2019]
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