Connecting some of the dots before Meituan sheds $60 bln in valuation

For the little guys, or "Delivery Workers, Trapped in the System"

On July 26 and July 27, Hong Kong-listed Meituan sheds 60 billion US dollars (Bloomberg) in market valuations. Media reports attributed the dramatic decline in the stock price of China’s leading food delivery platform to one government document (Mandarin) in particular, as well as the broad atmosphere surrounding Chinese Big Tech.

Three weeks later after the document was released on July 26, your Pekingnologist has yet to see a full translation in English of the document, so that’s in today’s newsletter, which also includes some more background.

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First of all, here is this must-read long-form report published by the 人物 Renwu/People magazine entitled 外卖骑手,困在系统里 Delivery Workers, Trapped in the System.

Published on September 8th, 2020, it is very, very long. But if you are really interested - or, let’s be honest, financially motivated - to gauge the perception of food delivery platforms such as Meituan and Eleme in China’s court of public opinion, you should read it, which instantly went viral on Chinese social media at the time because it resonated - and still resonates - with the Chinese commoners.

Below is extracted from an English translation of the long-form from the 闯 Chuang blog

 In 2016, the longest time limit for delivering food 3 kilometers was one hour. In 2017, it was reduced to 45 minutes. In 2018, it dropped by 7 minutes, with a new maximum delivery time of 38 minutes. According to available data, the average delivery time across the industry went down by 10 minutes from 2016 to 2019.

The system that governs delivery services has the power to continuously consume delivery time. For the system’s creators, this is a praiseworthy advancement, a real-world embodiment of the deep-learning capacity of AI. At Meituan, the real-time smart delivery management system is called “SuperBrain,” while Ele.me calls their system “The Ark.” In a November 2016 interview, Meituan founder Wang Xing stated, “Our slogan is ‘Meituan: Send anything fast.’ Usually our deliveries will arrive within 28 minutes.” He went on to state that this is a good application of technology.

But, for the delivery riders tasked with realizing this technological advancement, this can be a nerve-wracking and even deadly experience. Among the variables evaluated by the system, delivery time is the most important metric, and missing delivery targets is strictly forbidden. Exceeding the delivery time limit results in bad reviews, pay cuts, and even dismissal from the job. In a message board for delivery riders, one wrote that delivery is a race with Death, a competition with traffic cops, and a friendship with red lights.

In order to keep himself always alert, one Jiangsu-based rider changed his social media username to “Being late is for losers.” One rider living in the suburban Songjiang district of Shanghai said he drives against traffic flow on almost every order, which he estimates saves him five minutes per delivery. Another Ele.me rider in Shanghai roughly calculates that if he followed all the traffic laws, the number of orders he could deliver in a day would be cut in half.

“Riders can never rely on their individual power to fight back against the times assigned by the system. All we can do is exceed the speed limit in order to make up for lost time,” a Meituan rider told Renwu. His most ridiculous experience was a one-kilometer delivery, to be completed in 20 minutes. Even though the destination was not far away, he had only 20 minutes to wait for the order to be prepared, pick it up, and deliver it to the customer. That day, he drove so fast that he was bounced out of the seat of his scooter several times.

Speeding, running lights, and violating traffic laws––according to Sun Ping, assistant researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the delivery riders’ disobedience of traffic rules is a kind of “inverse algorithm.” Riders who have long been under the control and management of the algorithm have no choice but to use this labor practice. The direct result of this “inverse algorithm” is a sharp rise in the number of traffic accidents involving delivery riders.

On social media platforms, a netizen responded to a post by a Meituan rider activist, saying: Riders have helped Meituan to dramatically increase both the number of orders they handle, and their overall market value. But Meituan, a company that has relied entirely on its delivery service to become a large company, will never provide formal employment contracts to any of its delivery riders.

One year after his accident, Shi Shen’s rider account still has not been restored. Nor has he received any insurance compensation. He told Renwu, “I decided to leave this industry and not return. But for those riders who are still fighting against time on the road, all I can do is to pray quietly for them in my heart.” Wei Lai, the Meituan rider who saw his colleague die instantly, wrote in his own online journal: “I wish that all riders can come home safely.”

Following the announcement that Meituan’s market value had topped $200 billion, some commentators mentioned CEO Wang Xing’s fascination with speed and the book that had great influence on him––Finite and Infinite Games. In this book, New York University professor of religious history James Carter categorizes the world’s games into two types: finite and infinite games. The goal of finite games is to win, while the players in infinite games want to let the game go on forever.

The system is still running, the game is still continuing, but riders still have next to no knowledge about the role they play in this boundless game. They are still just flying down the road in search of the possibility of a better life.

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An analyst told Bloomberg on July 26 the guidelines weren’t a surprise but the timing of their announcement was.

Well, below connects some of the dots prior to that.

A July 7 communique from the weekly executive meeting of the State Council, China’s cabinet (Mandarin) includes:

会议指出,维护好新就业形态劳动者劳动保障权益,有利于促进灵活就业、增加就业岗位和群众收入。会议确定,一是适应新就业形态,推动建立多种形式、有利于保障劳动者权益的劳动关系。对采取劳务派遣、外包等用工方式的,相关企业应合理保障劳动者权益。二是企业应当按时足额支付劳动报酬,不得制定损害劳动者安全健康的考核指标。督促平台企业制定和完善订单分配、抽成比例等制度规则和算法,听取劳动者代表等意见,并将结果公示。不得违法限制劳动者在多平台就业。三是以出行、外卖、即时配送等行业为重点,开展灵活就业人员职业伤害保障试点。四是建立适合新就业形态的职业技能培训模式,符合条件的按规定给予补贴。五是放开灵活就业人员在就业地参加基本养老、基本医疗保险的户籍限制。

The meeting pointed out that safeguarding the rights and interests of workers in new forms of employment is conducive to promoting flexible employment, expanding job positions, and increasing people's income. The meeting decided (on five points):

First, adapt to new forms of employment and promote the establishment of various forms of labor relations that are conducive to protecting the rights and interests of workers. For employment methods such as employee leasing and outsourcing, relevant enterprises shall reasonably protect the rights and interests of workers.

Second, enterprises should pay remuneration in full and on time, and shall not set evaluation standards that harm the safety and health of workers. Supervise and urge platform companies to formulate and improve system rules and algorithms involving order distribution and revenue sharing (between the platform and workers), where opinions of workers’ representatives shall be listened to and results shall be publicized. There shall not be illegal restrictions on workers hindering them from working on multiple platforms.

Third, with an emphasis on sectors such as travel, food delivery, and instant delivery, launch a pilot program of insurance/guarantees for occupational injury for flexible workers.

Fourth, establish vocational skill training models suitable for new employment forms, and provide subsidies to those where requirements are met according to regulations.

Fifth, liberalize the household registration restrictions for flexible workers to participate in basic endowment/pension insurance and basic medical insurance in the place of employment.

By the way, the fifth point further breaks the hukou/household registration system’s linkage with social benefits such as social security.

Premier Li Keqiang is quoted in a separate report (Mandarin) on the July 7 meeting as saying

“我国灵活就业人员已达2亿多人。他们之中大量是农民工,有的一个人打几份工,十分辛苦。”李克强总理在7月7日的国务院常务会议上说,“要放开灵活就业人员在就业地参加基本养老、基本医疗保险的户籍限制,让他们‘心中有底’,相信未来基本生活能够得到保障。”

当天会议确定加强新就业形态劳动者权益保障的若干政策措施。

李克强指出,维护好新就业形态劳动者劳动保障权益,有利于促进灵活就业、增加就业岗位和群众收入。

“要坚持实事求是,一切从实际出发,通过制定有针对性的政策措施,切实维护好这一群体的劳动保障权益,促进新业态健康发展。”总理说。

"People in flexible employment in our country have reached more than 200 million. A large number of them are rural migrant workers, and some individuals among them work several jobs, which is very hard." Premier Li Keqiang said at the State Council executive meeting on July 7, "We shall liberalize the household registration restrictions for flexibly employed people to participate in basic pension/endowment insurance and basic medical insurance in their place of employment, so that they can 'have a bottom(line) in their hearts' and can believe that their basic lives can be guaranteed in the future."

The meeting decides on a number of policy measures to strengthen the protection of the rights and interests of workers in new employment forms.

Li Keqiang pointed out that the protection of the rights and interests of labor rights of workers in new employment forms is conducive to the promotion of flexible employment, increasing employment opportunities, and income of the people.

"We shall seeks truths from facts, start from facts on the ground, effectively safeguard the labor rights and interests of this group through the development of targeted policies and measures, and promote the healthy development of new forms of employment." The Premier said.

A Xinhua report (Mandarin) on July 7 after the meeting:

权威数据显示,我国灵活就业人员已达2亿人,近年来新就业形态劳动者数量大幅增长。2020年,共享经济提供服务人数约8400万人。但是由于灵活就业人员与从业单位之间属于非稳定劳动关系,按照现行规定,他们无法获得工伤保险、失业保险等制度保障。

“及时补齐制度短板,健全就业、劳动报酬、社会保险、技能培训、企业民主管理等方面的制度,既有助于维护好新就业形态劳动者的劳动权益,也有利于促进灵活就业、增加就业岗位和群众收入。”首都经济贸易大学中国新就业形态研究中心主任张成刚表示。

Authoritative data show that China's flexible workers have reached 200 million, and the number of workers in new employment forms has increased significantly in recent years.

In 2020, the number of people providing services in the ‘sharing economy’ is about 84 million. However, as the flexible workers are in a non-stable work relationship with the employing entities, they cannot get the systemic protection such as occupational injury insurance and unemployment insurance according to the current regulations.

"Compensating the shortcomings of the system in a timely manner and improving the systems for employment, labor compensation, social insurance, skills training, and democratic management of companies will not only help safeguard the labor rights and interests of workers in new employment forms, but also help promote flexible employment and increase job opportunities and the income of the people." Zhang Chenggang, director of China Research Center for New Employment Froms at the Capital University of Economics and Trade, said.

In Pekingology, 企业民主管理, or democratic management of companies, typically refers to giving employees or the Chinese trade union more say in corporate decisions in Chinese style.

At least a week before the July 26 govt document, there is another govt document 《关于切实维护新就业形态劳动者劳动保障权益的意见》 (Mandarin) Guidance on safeguarding the labor rights of workers in new employment forms jointly issued by eight central-level bodies, which includes

(六)完善休息制度,推动行业明确劳动定员定额标准,科学确定劳动者工作量和劳动强度。督促企业按规定合理确定休息办法,在法定节假日支付高于正常工作时间劳动报酬的合理报酬。

(九)强化职业伤害保障,以出行、外卖、即时配送、同城货运等行业的平台企业为重点,组织开展平台灵活就业人员职业伤害保障试点,平台企业应当按规定参加。

(十)督促企业制定修订平台进入退出、订单分配、计件单价、抽成比例、报酬构成及支付、工作时间、奖惩等直接涉及劳动者权益的制度规则和平台算法,充分听取工会或劳动者代表的意见建议,将结果公示并告知劳动者。

(6) Improve the system for rest, promote the sector to clarify the standard of labor quotas, scientifically determine of the workload and intensity of workers. Supervise companies to reasonably determine (their) methods for (giving) rest days in accordance with regulations, and pay reasonable compensation for labor on legal holidays, which shall be higher than normal working hours.

(9) Strengthen occupational injury protection, with the emphasis on travel, take-away, instant delivery, crosstown freight and other sectors in the platform companies. Organize a pilot program for flexible workers’ occupational injury protection, and the platform companies shall participate in accordance with the provisions.

(11) Supervise enterprises to develop and revise rules and algorithms on entry and exit, order distribution, piece-rate unit price, revenue sharing (between the platform and workers), compensation composition and payment, working hours, rewards and punishments which are directly related to the rights and interests of workers; fully listen to the views and suggestions of trade unions or workers' representatives, and publicize and inform the results to workers.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions, which heads the eight central-level bodies in the document, has a Q&A (Mandarin) of the document, also published on July 20.

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Finally, the full translation of the government document (Mandarin), published on July 26.

市场监管总局 国家网信办 国家发展改革委 公安部 人力资源社会保障部 商务部 中华全国总工会 关于落实网络餐饮平台责任切实维护外卖送餐员权益的指导意见

Guiding Opinions on Fulfilling the Responsibilities of Online Catering Platforms and Effectively Maintaining the Rights and Interests of Food Delivery Workers by State Administration for Market Regulation, Cyberspace Administration of China, National Development and Reform Commission Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Ministry of Commerce, and All-China Federation of Trade Unions

各省、自治区、直辖市和新疆生产建设兵团市场监管局(厅、委)、网信办、发展改革委、公安厅(局)、人力资源社会保障厅、商务厅、总工会:

为促进网络餐饮健康发展,维护外卖送餐员正当权益,现提出十条意见。

Market regulation administrations (departments/commissions), cyberspace administrations, development and reform commissions, public security departments(bureaus), human resources and social security departments, commerce departments, and federation of trade unions of all provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps,

In order to promote the healthy development of the online catering sector and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of food delivery workers, ten opinions are hereby promulgated.

Note: This is a document jointly issued by seven central bodies. By tradition, the State Administration for Market Regulation, whose name comes first in the byline, takes a leading role in this matter.

一、科学设置报酬规则,保障合理劳动收入

网络餐饮平台要认真完善外卖送餐员劳动报酬规则,建立与工作任务、劳动强度相匹配的收入分配机制。制定科学合理的劳动定额标准和外卖送餐员接单最低报酬,确保外卖送餐员提供正常劳动的实际所得不低于当地最低工资标准。明确劳动报酬发放时间和方式,确保按时足额发放。外卖送餐员在法定节假日、恶劣天气、夜间等情形下工作的,适当给予补贴。

1. Set up remuneration rules scientifically, ensure reasonable income from work

Online catering platforms should conscientiously improve the labor remuneration rules for food delivery workers, and establish an income distribution mechanism that matches their work tasks and work intensity. Formulate scientific and reasonable quotas for work and set minimum remuneration for food delivery workers to ensure that the actual income as a result of normal work is not lower than the local minimum wage. Clarify the time and method of remuneration to ensure that it is paid on time and in full. For food delivery work in such conditions as on statutory holidays, under bad weather, and at nights, appropriate subsidies shall be provided.

Note: According to a survey (Mandarin) of food delivery workers in Wuhan by some faculty members and students of Central China Normal University in July-August 2019, most of the food delivery workers work 8 to 12 hours a day, and 30 percent of them work 10 hours a day.

According to a survey (Mandarin) of food delivery workers in Beijing in July-August 2018 by Feng Xiang’nan at Capital University of Economics and Business, they work 11.4 hours a day on average, with over 84% work more than 10 hours a day. The survey also found food delivery workers work 28.7 days a month on average in Beijing at the time.

二、完善绩效考核制度,发挥正向激励作用

网络餐饮平台及第三方合作单位要合理设定对外卖送餐员的绩效考核制度。在制定调整考核、奖惩等涉及外卖送餐员切身利益的制度或重大事项时,应提前公示,充分听取外卖送餐员、工会等方面的意见。优化算法规则,不得将“最严算法”作为考核要求,要通过“算法取中”等方式,合理确定订单数量、在线率等考核要素,适当放宽配送时限。

2. Improve the performance evaluation system, enable positive incentives

Online catering platforms and third-party cooperative entities shall reasonably set up a performance evaluation system for food delivery workers. When formulating and adjusting assessments, rewards, and punishments, or other major matters concerning the vital interests of food delivery workers, they should be made public before they come into effect, and the opinions of such stakeholders as food delivery workers and trade unions shall be taken into full consideration.

Optimize algorithms; the "most stringent algorithm" shall not be adopted as an evaluation requirement; reasonably determine the evaluation factors such as the number of orders, punctuality rate, online rate, etc. through methods such as "algorithm selection", and appropriately relax the delivery time limit.

Note: Your Pekingnologist isn’t sure if there is an established English translation for “最严算法”/"most stringent algorithm" or “算法取中”/"algorithm selection." Basically, the “most stringent algorithm” refers to the constantly updated algorithm that, as a result of iterative machine learning processes, pushing delivery workers to their new limits in what could otherwise be celebrated as a triumph of technology by the algorithm’s creators. “Algorithm selection” basically means human intervention to stop the “most stringent algorithm” from being applied, opting for a more “humane” algorithm.

三、优化平台派单机制,切实保障劳动安全

网络餐饮平台要发挥数据技术优势,进一步完善订单分派机制,优化外卖送餐员往返路线,降低劳动强度。科学确定订单饱和度,向外卖送餐员分派并发单量时,要充分考虑安全因素。合理管控在线工作时长,对于连续送单超过4小时的,系统发出疲劳提示,20分钟内不再派单。加强日常交通安全教育,定期开展安全培训,引导督促外卖送餐员严格遵守交通法规,骑行环节全程佩戴安全头盔,使用符合国家安全标准的配送车辆,保障劳动安全。

3. Optimizing the platform’s dispatch mechanism, effectively guarantee work safety

Online catering platforms shall take advantage in data and technology, further improve the distribution mechanism of orders, optimize the food delivery routes for workers, and reduce work intensity. They shall scientifically determine the degree of saturation of orders, and fully consider safety when allocating and dispatching orders to delivery workers. Control workers’ online working hours reasonably, and for those who have continuously delivered for more than 4 hours, the platform shall give a fatigue alert and no orders shall be sent within 20 minutes. Strengthen traffic safety education, regularly carry out safety training, guide and supervise food delivery workers to strictly abide by traffic laws, wear safety helmets, and use delivery vehicles that meet national safety standards to ensure work safety.

Note: The 20-minute break per 4-hour work looks like a circuit breaker against fatigue. Consideration for safety shall also be built into any algorithm. Reduce work intensity is plain and simple.

四、加强外卖服务规范,严守食品安全底线

网络餐饮平台要切实担负食品配送环节安全责任,履行食品安全法律法规规定的义务。制定平台外卖送餐服务管理规范,加强食品安全知识培训,提升外卖送餐员食品安全风险防控、个人卫生等方面知识水平。保障配送容器安全卫生,加快推行外卖餐食封签等措施,确保食品配送过程不受污染,严格落实食品安全要求。

4. Strengthen food delivery service standards, strictly adhere to the baseline in food safety

Online catering platforms shall fulfill the responsibility for the safety of food in delivery, and fulfill their obligations under food safety laws and regulations. Formulate food delivery service management standards for their platforms, strengthen food safety knowledge training, and improve food safety risk prevention and control, personal hygiene, and other knowledge levels in food delivery staff. Ensure the safety and sanitation of food containers in delivery, speed up the implementation of measures such as seals for take-out meals, ensure that the food delivery process is not contaminated, and strictly implement food safety requirements.

五、综合运用保险工具,着力强化保障力度

网络餐饮平台及第三方合作单位要依法为建立劳动关系的外卖送餐员参加社会保险,鼓励其他外卖送餐员参加社会保险。按照国家规定参加平台灵活就业人员职业伤害保障试点,防范和化解外卖送餐员职业伤害风险。鼓励针对平台就业特点,探索提供多样化商业保险保障方案,确保缴纳费用足额投保,提高多层次保障水平。

5. Comprehensive use of insurance tools to strengthen protection

Online catering platforms and third-party cooperative entities shall participate in social security in accordance with the law for food delivery workers with whom they have established employment relations. Encourage other food delivery workers to participate in social security. Participate in the pilot occupational injury insurance/guarantee for flexible workers on platforms in accordance with national regulations, prevent and resolve the occupational injury risk of food delivery workers. Encourage the exploration of diversified commercial insurance protection schemes based on the employment characteristics of the platforms, ensure the relevant premium is fully paid, and improve the sufficiency of multi-level protection.

六、优化从业环境,改善工作生活条件

鼓励支持新业态发展,营造良好从业环境,积极发挥稳定和扩大就业作用。推动在商业楼宇、居民小区等设置外卖送餐员临时驻留点,公共区域设置电动车充换电设施,提供必要的饮水、休息、充电等条件,不断改善工作环境。加强与物业管理机构沟通,通过推广铺设智能取餐柜等形式,提升外卖送达的便利度。鼓励研发智能头盔等穿戴设备,促进骑行配送安全。对外卖送餐员住宿、子女教育方面给予关心支持。

6. Optimize the working environment, improve working and living conditions

Encourage and support the development of new business forms, create a good working environment, and actively enable them to play the role of stabilizing and expanding employment. Promote the establishment of temporary accomodating spots for food delivery workers in commercial buildings and residential areas, install electric vehicle charging and battery replacement facilities in public areas, provide necessary infrastructure such as drinking water, rest areas, and charging stations, and continuously improve the working environment. Strengthen communication with property management agencies, and improve the convenience of food delivery through the promotion and installation of smart meal cabinets and other forms. Encourage the development of wearable devices such as smart helmets to promote safe cycling and food distribution. Provide care and support for food delivery workers’ accomodation and their children's education.

七、加强组织建设,完善支持保障体系

推动建立适应新就业形态的工会组织,积极吸纳外卖送餐员群体入会,引导帮助外卖送餐员参与工会事务,提高权益保障体系化、机制化水平。支持工会开展工作,参与外卖送餐员报酬规则、绩效考核、派单时间、劳动安全、工作条件等重要事项协商协调,保障外卖送餐员对涉及自身利益事项的知情权,为外卖送餐员提供依法维权咨询、政策宣传解读、技能培训、心理疏导、思想关爱、困难帮扶和送温暖等服务,维护外卖送餐员合法权益。

7. Strengthen organizational construction, improve the support and guarantee system

Promote the establishment of trade union organizations that adapt to new forms of employment, actively enroll groups of food delivery workers, guide and help food delivery workers to participate in trade union affairs, and improve the level of systemic and institutionalized protection of workers’ rights and interests. Support the trade union in carrying out its work, participate in the negotiation and coordination of important matters involving food delivery workers such as remuneration rules, performance evaluation, order dispatch time, work safety and working conditions, and protect workers’ right to know in matters involving their own interests. Provide consultations on their rights protection based on law, publicity of policies and their interpretations, skill training, psychological counseling, mental care, assistance in difficulties, and other services to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of food delivery workers.

Note: Local branches of the Chinese trade union will likely participate in some form of Chinese-style collective bargaining.

八、给予更多关心关爱,增强职业社会认同

积极倡导网络餐饮平台加强团队建设,丰富外卖送餐员文化生活。加大宣传力度,营造良好氛围,引导社会对外卖送餐员形成身份尊重和职业认同。推动开展技能、素质、文化等多方位培训,提升外卖送餐员能力水平,提高公共环境融入度,营造外卖送餐员与餐饮商户、消费者之间的和谐关系。制定完善救助预案,对遇到特殊困难的外卖送餐员及时给予帮助,切实提高团体归属感。

8. Give food delivery workers more care, enhance social recognition of the profession

Actively advocate online catering platforms to strengthen team building and enrich the cultural life of food delivery workers. Intensify publicity efforts, create a good atmosphere, and guide society to form respect and recognition for food delivery as a profession. Conduct all-round training including on skills, manners, and education, improve the competence of food delivery workers, improve their integration into the public arena, and create a harmonious relationship between food delivery workers and catering merchants and consumers. Formulate and improve contingency plans for support, provide timely help to food delivery workers who encounter particular difficulties in personal life, and effectively improve the sense of group belonging.

Note: Let’s be honest: there is a lot of recognition and perhaps sympathy for food delivery workers, but not enough respect. That’s where this aims to address.

九、强化风险防控措施,有效化解处置矛盾

网络餐饮平台及第三方合作单位要建立有效的风险防控和矛盾处置机制。要落实风险防控责任,开展常态化风险评估,充分依托大数据等技术优势,及早发现风险因素,及时预警处置并报告地方政府。要畅通外卖送餐员诉求渠道,明确诉求处置程序、时限,加强民主协商和平等沟通,满足正当诉求。坚持抓早抓小,对于客观因素造成送单超时等常规问题,一般在24小时内合理解决,防止矛盾升级,有效处置纠纷。

9. Strengthen risk prevention and control measures, effectively resolve conflicts

Online catering platforms and third-party cooperative entities shall establish effective risk prevention and control and conflict resolution mechanisms. It is necessary to implement risk prevention and control responsibilities, carry out regular risk assessments, take full advantage of big data and other technological advantages, spot risk factors early, and promptly warn and deal with the risk factors and report them to local governments. It is necessary to unblock the channels for food delivery workers to make appeals, clarify the procedures and time limits for the handling of the appeals, strengthen democratic consultation and equal communication, and satisfy food delivery workers’ legitimate appeals. Insist on catching the risk factors when they are still minor at an early stage. For routine problems such as overtime delivery of orders caused by objective factors, they shall be generally resolved within 24 hours to prevent the escalation of conflicts and effectively handle disputes.

Note: Labor disputes shall not become a risk for social stability.

十、适应灵活就业发展趋势,不断提升权益保障水平

督促网络餐饮平台及第三方合作单位依法保障外卖送餐员合法权益。外卖送餐员的工作任务来源于平台,通过平台获得收入,平台应通过多种方式承担劳动者权益保障方面的责任。平台要加强对第三方合作单位保障外卖送餐员正当权益情况的监督。平台应严格落实国家关于维护灵活就业和新就业形态劳动者权益的法律规定和政策举措,不断提升外卖送餐员权益保障水平。

充分发挥网络监管部际联席会议重要作用,发挥各部门职能优势,强化责任担当,进一步加强政策衔接和协同配合,及时协调解决指导意见实施中遇到的问题。各地要落实属地责任,建立健全外卖送餐员权益保障工作协调机制,加强组织实施,强化风险评估,有效化解矛盾,落实网络餐饮平台主体责任和社会责任,保障外卖送餐员合法权益,坚决维护社会稳定。

10. Adapt to the development trend of flexible employment, continuously improve the level of rights protection for food delivery workers

Supervise online catering platforms and third-party cooperative entities to protect the legitimate rights and interests of food delivery workers in accordance with the law. The work tasks of the food delivery workers originate in the platforms, and their income is obtained through the platforms. The platforms shall take on the responsibility for the protection of the rights and interests of the workers in a variety of ways. The platforms shall strengthen the supervision of third-party cooperative entities to protect the legitimate rights and interests of food delivery workers. The platforms shall strictly implement the state's laws, regulations, and policy measures on safeguarding the rights and interests of workers in flexible employment and new forms of employment, and continuously improve the protection of the rights and interests of food delivery workers.

Make full use of the important role of the inter-ministerial joint meeting for Internet supervision, give full play to the functional advantages of the departments involved, strengthen accountability, further strengthen policy linkage and coordination, and coordinate and solve problems encountered in the implementation of the guidelines in a timely manner. All regions should implement regulatory responsibilities, establish, and improve the coordination mechanism for the protection of the rights and interests of food delivery workers, strengthen organization and implementation, strengthen risk assessment, effectively resolve conflicts, make sure that online catering platforms implement their primary responsibilities and social responsibilities, protect the legitimate rights and interests of food delivery workers, and resolutely safeguard social stability.

Note: A lot of food delivery workers are NOT directly employed by Meituan or Eleme, but by some other third parties. But that shall NOT become an excuse for the platforms to exploit them and disregard their labor rights, hence The work tasks of the food delivery workers originate in the platforms, and their income is obtained through the platforms. The platforms shall take on the responsibility for the protection of the rights and interests of the workers in a variety of ways. The platforms shall strengthen the supervision of third-party cooperative entities to protect the legitimate rights and interests of food delivery workers.

In the observation of your Pekingnologist, it is a bit similar to the logic in manufacturing - the big brands have at least some responsibilities for the labor practice in their supply chain.

Last but not least, again, a recommendation to read Delivery Workers, Trapped in the System in English on the 闯 Chuang blog. If you have lost some of that 60 billion US dollars in two days, well, maybe you can spare an hour on something that actually shaped the Chinese discourse on food delivery platforms.

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Your Pekingnologist was based in Brussels, Belgium for two years and seven months, during which time he got to know some diplomats in the Chinese Mission to the European Union. The Mission just sent out its first edition of the China-EU Dynamics newsletter - check it out if you are interested.

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The translation is mainly done by Zhixin Wan, a Masters' student at Journalism School, Tsinghua University, and now a contributor to Pekingnology, the newsletter by Zichen Wang in his personal capacity.