Food delivery firm didn’t know it had to tell authorities when rider died

Nick Bonyhady (The Sydney Morning Herald)

A food delivery company did not know it had to report the death of one of its riders to the work safety regulator, which was told only when the union informed it days later.

HungryPanda, which started in the United Kingdom to cater to the Chinese diaspora in 2016 and has since expanded across dozens of cities including Sydney and Melbourne, is still in compensation negotiations with the family of Xiaojun Chen, who died last September after colliding with a bus in Zetland.

After admitting the notification failure at a NSW parliamentary committee hearing on Tuesday, HungryPanda’s Australian human resources manager, Tina Sun, said the company would have an insurance scheme in place for its riders by the end of next month.

“We have been in extensive talks with private insurance providers for some time,” she said in a statement.

That could stop riders such as Mr Chen and their families being left without income in the event of death or serious injury although the size of, and conditions on, any payout remains unclear.

Ms Sun told the hearing HungryPanda did not know it had a legal obligation to tell SafeWork NSW about drivers’ deaths or serious injuries when Mr Chen died a day after the accident on September 29, 2020.


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