Here’s why. About 100 Shanghai delivery van drivers went on a 10-hour strike yesterday, according to the Shanghai Daily. They were contract workers for Yongle Household Electrical Appliances in Nanhui District and were scheduled to deilver air conditioners to hundreds of customers. (The weather has been a bit warm lately, if you haven’t noticed.) The drivers stopped working to protest harsh working conditions — long hours, few breaks — and a random fining system. Some drivers claimed they were actually losing money on the job.
Drivers rent a van for more than 5,000 yuan (US$602) a month. They have to hire their own porter and buy gasoline.
While most of them work more than 18 hours a day, a complaint from a customer could cost them a fine of up to 200 yuan.
“The fines could be for any reason. Sometimes because the goods arrived late, but we are too busy,” said Zhao Junfeng, a driver from Shaanxi Province.
Zhao works almost every day until 1am or 2am, but he said he had been losing money since May when he signed the contract to rent a 0.9-ton van.
Another driver, Wu Jun, said they were constantly fined by traffic police for oversized loads, which cost 100 yuan each time.
“But we have to load as many appliances as possible because we receive too many orders from the delivery center every day,” Wu said.
While some drivers earn a net income of 1,000 yuan to 2,000 yuan a month, most said they were losing or just breaking even.
Some drivers considered quitting, but the company said they would have to pay a fine of several thousand yuan for breaking the contract. Work resumed at 4 p.m. Sunday after the company agreed to “consider modifying the contracts and fining policy and give [drivers] a reply in five days.”
If you happen to be one of the unlucky souls waiting for an AC delivery, you might want to think twice about buying an electric fan instead.