With all the talk about “the future of work”, there is no doubt that tens of millions digital platform workers will be a vital part of that future. But will they have the fundamental human rights and freedoms that all workers are entitled to? Grab Philippines seems to think the answer is, No.
In response to a peaceful rally organized by the United Riders of the Philippines – Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa – International Union of Food (RIDERS – SENTRO – IUF) in Pampanga, Grab Philippines summarily terminated two riders, Mark Larson Vallejo and Mary Rose Cenidoza.
The rally was one of many peaceful rallies organized by RIDERS – SENTRO – IUF across the Philippines to draw attention to the insecurity, unfair treatment and lack of protection faced by delivery riders.
Instead of responding to these concerns by engaging with the union, Grab Philippines management (not the algorithm) decided to terminate Vallejo and Cenidoza as punishment for speaking out. But the action by Grab Philippines proved the point: delivered riders are vulnerable to unfair, arbitrary punishment, and have no job protection.
This cannot become the future of work, where digital platforms earning billions claim they are creating jobs and improving livelihoods, while passing all the risk to workers through harsh working conditions, unbearable stress, and irregular and unstable incomes. In fact this fear and insecurity – and not artificial intelligence or algorithms – seem to be the primary management tool for these digital platform companies.
RIDERS – SENTRO – IUF was formed by delivery riders in the Philippines to fight against such a future and to make these essential jobs safe, secure and decently paid. If Grab Philippines is to have any kind of future it must reinstate Vallejo and Cenidoza, listen to the concerns raised in these peaceful rallies, and talk to the union. Only then will there be a possibility that the future of work for tens of millions of digital platform workers will be decent work.
RIDERS – SENTRO – IUF Statement Calling for the Reinstatement of Mark Larson Vallejo and Mary Rose Cenidoza
Support Your Riders, Not Punish Them:
The freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important values in any society. All Filipinos have the right to speak up against abuse, injustice, and unfairness without any fear of retaliation, including the termination of employment. In fact, companies that would rather harass and terminate their workers for speaking up for their needs and concerns than address these demonstrates their disregard for the wellbeing of their employees, the very same people that they praise as essential partners and part of their corporate families.
The United Riders of the Philippines – Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa – International Union of Food (RIDERS – SENTRO – IUF) condemns grabs brazen and groundless termination of Mark Larson Vallejo and Mary Rose Cenidoza both delivery riders of Grab Philippines in Pampanga. Their termination, based only on the vague insinuation of “violating” Grab’s Code of Conduct via text, even committing a “fraud-related issue” according to the Grab app is simply an act of intimidation.
Clearly, the termination was done purely to punish Vallejo and Cenidoza for standing up for their fellow riders and demanding just protection and support for the vital work that they do for Grab and the thousands that rely on the platform’s services.
RIDERS – SENTRO – IUF demands the immediate reinstatement of Vallejo, Cenidoza and the end to Grab management’s harassment of its workers. If Grab is serious in its commitment both to provide quality services to its patrons, and the safeguarding of its riders, then the company must prove this in practice – support your riders, not punish them.