NTUC unveils relief fund and training support for food delivery riders affected by e-scooter ban

Senior Minister of State Lam Pin Min speaks to food delivery riders at the Land Transport Authority headquarters on 8 November, 2019. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and its partners announced on Friday (15 November) a relief fund as well as a training and career support programme for food delivery riders affected by the recent e-scooter ban on footpaths.

Its U FSE (Freelancers and Self-Employed) Unit would launch a short-term relief fund to “provide support for daily essentials and membership in collaboration with partners”, said NTUC, Singapore's sole trade union centre, in a press release.

It is aimed at helping affected food delivery riders who are unable to take on alternative employment because of constraints, including being the primary caregiver with dependents or having pre-existing medical conditions, it added.

The fund will be extended to riders who are existing and new NTUC union members, with applications to be made between 19 November and 31 December.

Under it, existing union members will be able to apply for $200 worth of credits in the form of Kopitiam and NTUC Fairprice gift cards, while new members can apply for $100 worth of credits.

They can also enjoy three months’ worth of membership reimbursement, co-sponsored between NTUC and two delivery companies Foodpanda and GrabFood.

“Having heard their concerns on the ground, I urge riders who are not members to join us so that they can access our suite of services that address their needs. We know that some riders are facing financial hardship and hope that the fund will provide them with some immediate relief,” said NTUC U FSE Acting Director Jean See.

Separately, affected riders who intend to continue working in the profession can attend curated training programmes in areas such as safety, service management and first aid.

These would be made available by the NTUC LearningHub by next week, said NTUC, adding that its Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) is working with SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore on utilising existing training funds.

To sign up for the training courses, Foodpand and Deliveroo riders can register with their food delivery companies. GrabFood riders can register with e2i career coaches who are currently deployed at their premise.

For riders looking to switch careers, e2i will assess their skill gaps and recommend suitable options through their existing Adapt and Grow initiative.

It is also working with the three food delivery companies to provide career guidance and employment facilitation services for their affected riders, the NTUC said.

The announcements come as the three major food delivery companies further released details of a $7 million grant to help riders using e-scooters transition to other transport devices. Riders can receive up to $1,000 when they trade in their e-scooters, depending on the device they are planning to switch to.

The grant was first announced by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) last Friday, three days after the ban of e-scooters on footpaths took effect.

The ban triggered a wave of reactions in Singapore including from netizens, food delivery riders, food delivery companies, personal mobility device retailers and sharing operators.

Food delivery riders who use e-scooters have expressed concerns about the threat to their livelihood due to the ban.

A number of them have met their Members of Parliament to discuss the issue. During recent heated Meet-the-People sessions, several called on the authorities to allow them to use footpaths until the end of this year.

To allow e-scooter users to adjust to the ban, an “advisory period” would be implemented until the end of the year. As of 9am on Sunday, the LTA has issued more than 760 warnings to errant riders.

From 1 January, there will be strict enforcement of the ban, with those caught flouting it liable to a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to three month’s jail.

(INFOGRAPHIC: NTUC)

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