Didi Global is helping workers establish their first union, a groundbreaking decision its fellow tech giants may soon follow as China imposes rules to curb excessive work and protect millions of blue-collar workers from exploitation.
The Beijing-based ride-hailing giant announced the creation of the union on an internal forum last week without specifics, according to insiders. Didi drivers — mostly part-time and lacking full employee benefits — will likely be invited to join, one of them said.
Peers including food delivery leader Meituan are also studying the feasibility of internal labor rights organizations, another person said. And employees from Alibaba Group Holding have posted calls for the formation of a union on its own company forum, a third person said.
Tech giants like Didi are responding to regulators’ demands that sharing-economy behemoths improve the welfare of millions of low-wage workers they depend on to power growth. That stems from Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” campaign to get the private sector to share the enormous wealth accumulated during a decade-long internet boom, while reining in their growing influence.
In Didi’s case, the move may curry favor with Beijng at a time it’s said to be fighting to ensure its survival after forging ahead with a US$4.4 billion IPO over regulators’ objections.
A Meituan representative said it’s focused on listening to and helping out its delivery riders.