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Australia Hungry Panda drivers fight dismissal, handed down hours after protest over pay

00:09  19 february  2021
00:09  19 february  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Hungry Panda riders will protest at noon over unsustainable pay cuts imposed without consultation, over the sacking of a rider for raising concerns about Last week Hungry Panda riders received a message stating that their pay had changed, followed by a significant drop in their wages. Food delivery rider James Yang was sacked on Tuesday following a strike he held in Burwood over the slashed pay . On Friday Hungry Panda refused to reverse the pay cut and hinged an insurance policy for riders on the protest being called off.

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a man wearing a hat: Former rider Xiangqian Li said he was sacked by the delivery giant without a warning. (ABC News: Jack Fisher) © Provided by ABC Health Former rider Xiangqian Li said he was sacked by the delivery giant without a warning. (ABC News: Jack Fisher)

Two food delivery drivers who say they were unfairly dismissed by Hungry Panda are taking their fight to the Fair Work Commission in a bid to have their jobs reinstated.

The Transport Workers' Union on Friday lodged the unfair dismissal claims on behalf of Jun Yang and Xiangqian Li.

The union argued the food delivery platform terminated the drivers for protesting new pay rules.

In their claims, seen by the ABC, the men say there was no valid reason for their dismissal relating to their conduct or ability to carry out their work.

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For 12 hours , the drivers involved in the protests plan to turn off the Uber app and stop working for the ride-hailing firm. New York now operates a city by-law that demands drivers working for Uber, and other ride-hailing firms like Lyft and Juno, must get paid at least .22 an hour . Gig Workers uprising is organising protests in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego. Some drivers in other cities, including Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Washington DC, are also expected to turn off the app on 8 May.

They also argue they were not given any reasons for their dismissal or a chance to respond to being terminated.

Mr Yang, 51, told the ABC he worked for Hungry Panda in Sydney for more than a year, working at least 10 hours a day, seven days a week to provide for his wife and four children in China.

Mr Li said he used the money he made delivering food on his motorbike for Hungry Panda to provide for his wife and son.

The unfair dismissal claims are the latest in the men's fight against the food delivery giant.

Earlier this month the pair organised a small strike in Burwood to protest changes to the company's pay structure, which they say significantly reduced their wages.

That afternoon the men received messages from Hungry Panda stating it had decided to "terminate the cooperative relationship" and immediately blocked them from the app.

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1. Giant panda habitat was reduced gradually by farming and forestry. As China's population increased around giant pandas ' habitat the forest was cut down by hill farmers. Though poaching stopped after the 30s due to war and the new regime, locals continued to hunt pandas for food and fur, and smuggling was again rampant in the 80s. The giant pandas couldn't adapt quickly enough to their environmental changes and human persecution, and were declared endangered in 1990.

Mr Li said he was launching the case because he was angry about how he had been treated by Hungry Panda, which is based in the UK.

"It is unfair to expect people to keep working harder for less money," he said.

"I protested because my pay was cut, even though the work is the same.

"After almost one year of hard work for Hungry Panda, I was sacked on 2 [February], the day I arranged the protest."

Mr Yang said he was in a state of shock about losing his job.

"They slashed our pay, sacked us with no warning and now they are spreading lies that we were rude and abused customers."

In a statement, Hungry Panda spokesperson Tina Sun said the riders "were removed from the app for failing to achieve the high standards that our customers and restaurant partners rightly expect".

The Transport Workers' Union national secretary Michael Kaine said it was bringing the action on behalf of the riders because their dismissal was "callously removing the income of two families with the click of a button".

"Hungry Panda has raked in record profits over the last year thanks to the hard work of riders like Jun Yang and Xiangqian Li, who have in turn been treated as a disposable underclass."

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