01 Dec 2021, 11:55

China unveils new rules on ride-hailing drivers' rights

  BEIJING, Dec 1, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - Beijing has unveiled fresh rules on
workers' rights in the ride-hailing industry -- including better pay and
breaks -- as officials tighten oversight of China's embattled tech sector and
its gig economy.

  The announcement comes on the heels of a wide-ranging regulatory clampdown
on homegrown tech behemoths including e-commerce titan Alibaba and ride-
hailing giant Didi Chuxing over issues including consumer rights, data
security and monopolistic behaviour. Under new guidelines, the transport
ministry said drivers at ride-hailing firms must not earn less than the local
minimum wage and be given access to social insurance.

  They should also not be "induced to work overtime" by chalking up orders to
meet targets, the statement said, and ride-hailing companies must monitor
employees' working hours and labour intensity.

  It did not give more specifics on what counted as overtime or adequate
break times.

  However the rules could hit earnings for companies in the billion-dollar
industry, which is a go-to service for many commuters in China's densely
populated cities.

  China's gig economy now accounts for almost a quarter of its workforce --
200 million people are in "flexible employment", according to government

  New York-listed Didi's app dominates China's local ride-hailing market and
claims to have more than 15 million drivers with nearly 500 million users.

  Didi has come under fire on multiple fronts with Chinese regulators
reportedly asking executives last week to draw up a plan to delist from the
United States over data concerns.

  The guidelines also came after a ramp-up in labour protections for food
delivery workers announced in July.

  President Xi Jinping has this year embarked on a campaign of "common
prosperity" designed to tackle wealth inequality and tighten oversight of
business giants.


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