A labor union representing staff of Uber Technologies Inc.'s food delivery service in Japan called Friday for hazard pay and protection against the coronavirus for deliverers working on the front line.
Kento Suzuki, vice chairman of the union with some 30 members, said Uber Eats workers are constantly under threat of COVID-19 infection and fear they could spread the virus while they come and go between restaurants and customers.
"We are putting our health on the line for the company's food delivery business," Suzuki said at a press conference in Tokyo, noting workers have to buy their own face masks and disinfectant as the Japan unit of the U.S. ride-hailing company does not provide them.
The union insisted the company should safeguard delivery staff against the virus by providing them with protective equipment. The group also demanded an additional payment of 300 yen ($2.8) per order as hazard pay.
The union said it is not aware of any confirmed case of the coronavirus infection among the more than 15,000 Uber Eats deliverers in Japan.
The union members and their lawyer handed a petition to Uber's Tokyo office on Monday, but the company has yet to reply, the union said. Uber's Japan unit did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The union was formed in October to negotiate contract terms and seek improved working conditions. Uber has faced criticism for not providing their contract workers, known as "platformers," adequate accident compensation and other benefits.