Hungry Panda riders fighting unfair sacking and pay cuts to appear at NSW inquiry

Hungry Panda riders including unfairly sacked worker Jun Yang will appear before the NSW Inquiry into the gig economy today. Riders are currently battling unilateral pay cuts at Hungry Panda which has caused them to lose 20-30% of their income and put pressure on riders to work longer and faster to make ends meet.

Appearing alongside Jun Yang is rider Fang Sun, who recently wrote to Hungry Panda to invoke rights under WHS legislation to negotiate to elect health and safety representatives (HSRs). The letter resembles those written to Deliveroo by riders which led to the first HSRs being elected in December.

Hungry Panda is also due to appear at the hearing today following their no-show at a previous hearing in November which they later blamed on riders turning up at their office.

Hungry Panda’s failure to show up to the November hearing came just weeks after one of their riders Xiaojun Chen was killed and his bereaved wife and children left with no income and no compensation.

On Friday the TWU filed unfair dismissal cases on behalf of Hungry Panda riders Jun Yang and Xiangqian Li sacked with immediate effect after organising a protest over the pay cuts on 2 February.

The cases are the first of their kind against Hungry Panda and came on the same day as a significant UK Supreme Court ruling that Uber drivers are workers and have rights. In December Uber settled an unfair dismissal case with driver Amita Gupta days after Federal Court judges savaged its business model.

The TWU previously won a case over the unfair sacking of a Foodora rider and has a further unfair dismissal case running against Deliveroo which concluded yesterday. Last week a Dutch court found that Deliveroo riders are employees, agreeing with a previous Amsterdam ruling in 2019.

“Hungry Panda riders are bravely sharing their stories at NSW Parliament today after unilateral pay cuts and cruel, unfair sackings of riders who protested. Hungry Panda has raked in record profits over the last year thanks to the hard work of riders like Jun Yang and Fang Sun who in turn had their income slashed by up to 30%. This is deplorable behaviour from a company that pushes riders to work quickly and dangerously, and tragically lost a rider last year. Hungry Panda failed to show up at the last inquiry hearing and must answer to its reprehensible actions before parliament today.

“These workers need the Federal Government to put a stop to exploitative practices like those occurring at Hungry Panda. In light of international findings that workers have rights, it’s time for the Federal Government to step up with a tribunal to set minimum standards and protections for workers regardless of attempts by multinational tech giants to misclassify them,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.

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