Sat, December 4, 2021
Beijing unveiled new rules on workers’ rights in the transit industry – including better wages and breaks – as officials tighten oversight of China’s tech sector and odd-job economy.
The announcement follows a broad regulatory crackdown on local tech giants – including e-commerce titan Alibaba and transit giant Didi Chuxing – on issues such as consumer rights, data security and monopoly behavior.
Under new guidelines issued by the Ministry of Transportation, drivers of ridesharing companies must not earn less than the local minimum wage and must have access to social insurance.
They should also not be “pressured to work overtime” by setting orders to meet goals, the statement said, and companies should monitor working hours and work intensity of employees.
He did not give details of what was considered to be overtime or adequate break time.
The rules could affect profits for companies in the billion-dollar sector, which is a must-have service for many commuters in China’s densely populated cities.
“It’s a precursor to tighter enforcement, but enforcement was still coming,” Kendra Schaefer, head of technology policy research at consultancy firm Trivium China, told AFP.
The new guidelines also stress that drivers must have the required permits for carpooling work – something Schaefer estimates up to 40 percent currently do not have.
With new pressures for “strict enforcement” of these rules, companies will have to eliminate private drivers who do not meet licensing requirements.
Recruiting drivers who have the right licenses would probably be the “biggest pitfall”, Schaefer added, as there “just aren’t enough drivers”.
âIn fact, I think where they’re going to be the hardest hit in their bottom line is in a pilot war,â she said.
China’s odd-job economy accounts for nearly a quarter of its workforce: 200 million people hold âflexible jobs,â according to government figures.
The New York-listed Didi app dominates the Chinese limousine market and claims to have over 15 million drivers with nearly 500 million users.
Didi has been criticized on several fronts, with Chinese regulators last week asking leaders to develop a plan to de-list the United States over data concerns.
The directives also came after a rise in labor protections for food deliverers announced in July.
President Xi Jinping this year embarked on a “common prosperity” campaign designed to tackle wealth inequalities and strengthen oversight of business giants.