24-year-old newly-wed Mr Jason Tan was a food delivery rider and soon-to-be father. On Sunday morning, he left home for work and never returned. His wife had told him not to go to work that day, but he needed to fulfil just 13 more orders – for the additional incentive offered to riders who hit certain targets.
While out doing his delivery job, however, the father-to-be was involved in a fatal accident involving a van and two motorcycles in Gambas Avenue. A 36-year-old male van driver was arrested for careless driving causing death and police investigations are ongoing. Mr Tan was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic. He left behind his distraught 24-year-old widow, who works in administration. His parents, who are in their 60s, have also been inconsolable. The family had been planning to go on a cruise in 2 months’ time – a honeymoon for the newly-wed couple.
Mr Tan’s brother, Mr Jeremy Tan, said his brother had been working as a full-time food delivery rider with Foodpanda for a few years. He and his wife were actually looking to buy their own place in the next two or three years. The accident was a tragic one.
The struggles of food delivery workers
The struggles of food delivery workers like Mr Tan since the industry boomed have not gone unnoticed. Last year, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Koh Poh Koon announced the formation of an advisory committee to study how to support self-employed people who work for online platforms. The advisory committee has been looking into strengthening protections for this group of workers, such as improving their retirement and housing adequacy, ensuring adequate work injury compensation and allowing union representation.
For those who have indicated that they view platform work as a temporary arrangement, and would like to transit to regular employment, the Government and National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) have supported them in their job search through initiatives like career matching services and programmes under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, and support in course fees through the NTUC Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP). For riders looking to switch careers, e2i’s career coaches can also help to assess their skill gaps and recommend suitable options.
More can indeed be done to improve the livelihoods of self-employed workers like Mr Jason Tan, so that their burdens can be eased, and hopefully, accidents as such can be prevented!