Following the sudden ban of e-scooters on footpaths last week, one group that is badly affected is definitely the Personal Mobility Device (PMD) riders, especially those who use it as their livelihood tool like food delivery riders.
As such, on Monday night (11 November), about 30 PMD riders gathered at Woodlands Avenue 5 to meet the MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC Ong Teng Koon as he visited the area for a Meet-the-People session, Mothership reported.
The group of affected riders went to meet Mr Ong as they wanted to raise their problems to the MP over the ban and hear what solutions he had to offer about the issue.
A video of the conversation was uploaded by Mothership on its Facebook page, and we can see that Mr Ong first suggested that the riders use bicycles instead of PMDs to deliver food. In response to this, one rider said that if they use a bicycle, they can at most deliver 3 orders in an hour, which will only allow them to earn S$15.
“Bicycle can ah, how many orders can we do? First order you can get S$5, three orders, S$15. Makan, now how much already?” the man said.
Another rider said, “We are running like hell, like crazy. To earn a living. No matter rain or sunshine, we still ride just to deliver food to customers.
In response to this, Mr Ong, who brought along people from NTUC and e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), tried to offer these riders with different career options.
At one point, he even asked if they would be open to working as a postman for SingPost.
“If you don’t mind, my colleagues from e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and NTUC is here to help. How about postman?” he asked.
However, one rider replied and highlighted his preference of continuing his job as a food delivery man. “Can…If we (become) postman, then other people don’t need to eat lah, don’t need to order makan lah,” he noted.
Career as a postman
After hearing Mr Ong’s suggestion of becoming a postman, we can’t help but wonder his weird suggestion. This is because there have been multiple articles in the beginning of the year that highlighted how overworked are postmen at SingPost.
In February this year, a Facebook user named Amirul Azam uploaded a picture of a postman waiting on the side of the road to gobble up his meal so he would be able to deliver all his letters on time.
One reason why the postman might be pressing for time to send out all his letters is due to the insane amount of mail they have to deliver.
Based on a Parliamentary response by Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Sim Ann revealed the fact that postmen deliver 38,000 parcels that can fit into mailboxes each day, and that calculates to between 25 and 45 doorstep deliveries on top of their regular mail work.
It is also reported in a Straits Times article that SingPost delivers three million mail items daily, which adds to about 3,000 pieces for each postman.
According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), under the Employment Act, all workers are generally not required to work more than 6 consecutive hours without a break. However, if the nature of the work requires continuous work for up to 8 hours, then breaks must be provided for meals, and the breaks should be at least 45 minutes long.
Given the crazy working hours and conditions faced by postmen in Singapore, it’s rather odd that Mr Ong suggested such a career option to these riders.