China Couriers Challenged By The Hype In E-commerce
Zhang Heng, a courier in China, admitted that most of the time he has no time to even wait at the door of where he is delivering. They are required to hand the package directly to the receiver. Zhang is only one of the millions of couriers working in Beijing that are considered the life and blood of online shopping in China. He delivers each package to the right person ensuring that the right receiver will get their package or else he will get a fine.
The e-commerce industry of China is dependent mostly on the couriers who are locally known as kuaidi which means express delivery in China and Zhang is one of them. In the country, there are around 1.2 million couriers according to a single survey. Many online retailers such as Alibaba are using these couriers in order to deliver packages to their customers through the use of electric carts with three wheels or scooters. China is now considered the largest market in terms of package delivery all over the globe.
The sad fact for the couriers, mostly unskilled workers that are coming from the interior of China, is that their job is low paying and often difficult. They are currently being supported by legal experts and labour activists in the belief that they work very long hours and in majority of the time, in harsh work settings.
Based on the survey, almost one-fourth of the couriers are working over 12 hours every day for seven day each week. The survey was conducted by the research and logistics arms of Alibaba in partnership with Beijing Jiaotong University with 40,000 courier participants. Majority of them are working for over eight hours every day for the entire week.
In the courier industry of the country, labour standards differ for each company but many of them are working under the condition of having no overtime pay, no pension benefits and no health care from their employers. The same thing can be said by the Uber drivers who are working in the United States since there are a lot of questions when it comes to the definition of their employment and work standard. Good thing that interstate couriers in Melbourne are mostly hire full time and gets full employee benefits.