9:35pm 04/10/2023
The precarious lives of food delivery workers
By:Dr. Mohammad Shahidul Islam / The Daily Star / ANN

Online platforms that deliver food in Bangladesh saw an explosion in popularity during the height of the pandemic. But due to this growth, several concerns have also come to light.

These issues are mainly concerned with the socioeconomic precarity of individuals working in the food delivery business and the behavior of customers toward them.

A recent publication from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh found that food delivery occupations drew disproportionately large numbers of young males, students, and the unemployed.

Sixty percent of the respondents were young adults (18-25 years old), and 40 percent were either students or people without jobs looking for long-term employment. They are attracted to this industry because it is a quick alternative in a highly competitive and saturated labor market.

These jobs offer financial support but are commonly characterized by low earnings, limited work stability, and no benefits.

This illustrates how the gig economy may make workers susceptible to exploitation. As such, there is an urgent need to focus on the health and well-being of individuals who are essential to the success of online food delivery platforms.

The dynamics of the online food delivery industry are significantly influenced by the behaviors of the customers who use these services.

It is essential to cultivate a culture of respect and empathy for the people responsible for delivering food. Consumers are accountable for appreciating that the challenges faced by delivery workers frequently result from the same societal systems that contribute to the continuation of their difficulties. A change in consumer mindset toward better treatment and fair tips can improve delivery personnel’s quality of life.

The online food delivery industry is fraught with difficulties that put employees at risk.

Many delivery riders in Dhaka frequently experience road accidents due to inadequate safety measures. Most don’t have access to insurance, worsening the situation.

Lack of training opportunities also leaves delivery workers unprepared to handle crucial jobs such as maintaining food hygiene and mediating customer conflicts.

In light of these concerns, industry leaders should take preventive measures, including training all employees in terms of traffic safety, first-aid, and customer services in general.

Collaboration with insurance companies could help employees get the protection they need against illness, injury, and other hazards.

By addressing these issues, food delivery platforms can increase workers’ well-being and productivity, leading to a more equal and sustainable workplace.

It may take the combined efforts of several different parties to develop an ecosystem for online food delivery services that is more egalitarian.

The government has an important part to play here, by implementing regulations that protect the rights of employees in the gig economy.

These policies should include provisions for fair wages and social safeguards.

Rating systems used by most online platforms are oversimplified and primarily concerned with client happiness, completely ignoring the complexities and obstacles delivery personnel face.

This inequality highlights the need for online businesses to have fairer and more open methods of rating services.

A delivery worker’s performance may be affected by several factors outside of their control, so it’s essential that the new systems not only reward good service but also take these nuances into account. This way, platforms would be able to foster a win-win environment that inspires productive relationships between their users and staff.

The meteoric rise of online food delivery businesses in Bangladesh has brought on a sea of changes in the nation’s dining habits. This change has become the norm in the post-pandemic era.

However, the change has also introduced difficulties that must be addressed immediately, particularly regarding the health and safety of the employees who are crucial to the sector’s functionality.

A sustainable and equitable industry can only be achieved via deliberate efforts to foster a consumer culture based on empathy, providing many opportunities for professional development and training, and setting up equal systems for evaluating and compensating employees.


Asia News Network
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