China/ The Gig economy — Visible and Vocal (April 4th 2020)

Amid the pandemic, home-delivery services are proving vital in China. They are powered by a new sort of worker.

Original article

Abstract/ 文章摘要

Food-delivery firms played a crucial role in helping people in China endure the lockdown.

For migrants from the countryside, the job is an unusually easy ticket to city life. Factory workers must have a skill. But some riders are hired as soon as they upload copies of an identity card and health certificate to an app. The pay is usually better than on an assembly line.

The xiaoge (小哥) have helped build food delivery in China into a $46bn business, the world’s largest and twice the size of America’s. In 2018 Meituan(美團) and Ele.me(餓了麼) had about 6m riders between them. Demand for workers is growing fast. Sanford C. Bernstein, a research firm, reckons Meituan will need more than 1m delivery people a day next year, 200,000 more than last year. On average last summer, its yellow-jacketed army handled 20,000 orders a minute).

Food delivery allows migrant workers to choose their own work hours, but the stress is still immense. Some work six days a week, ten hours a day, even in the grimmest weather. And also some workers jump red lights every day to avoid late-delivery penalties. Moreover, they want respect.

In the long run, riders are unlikely to be satisfied. They risk becoming “trapped in the middle” — unable to move forward in urban life and unwilling to retreat to a rural one. A newly arrived waimai xiaoge(外賣小哥) said: “Everyone likes a big city. But you can’t do this for ever. You need to do something that gives you a way up.”

從一月下旬湖北省開始封城,還有隨後在全國各城市的居家檢疫措施,食物外送服務發揮了重要的角色,幫助人民度過封城的生活。

對於許多來自農村的移工而言,外送員工作不需要一技之長,只要出示身分證和健康證明就可以在大城市中找到工作,而且薪水比工廠生產線工作好很多。

外賣小哥已經幫中國的食物外送賺進了460億美元,是全球最大、規模是美國的兩倍。2018年美團和餓了麼這兩家公司約有600萬名外送員,人力需求正在成長。研究公司預估,明年美團每天將需要超過100萬名外送員,比去年增加20萬,平均每分鐘可以處理2萬筆訂單。

食物外送的工作讓移工們自主選擇工作時間,但是工作壓力仍然很大。有些外送員每週工作6天,每天工作10小時,即使在天氣惡劣也要工作,為了避開遲到的處罰,他每天都要闖紅燈。甚至,他們希望得到客人的尊重。

長遠來看,外送員不太可能得到滿足。他們有可能成為夾在中間的人,無法在城市生活中找到出路,也不願意回到農村。一位剛來上海的外賣小哥說,每個人都喜歡大城市。但是,你不能一直這樣做下去,你需要做一些能讓你有出息的事情。

Vocabulary / 單字學習

1. 零工經濟: gig economy, gig work(er), gig jobs / 平台經濟 platform economy / 隨選經濟 on-demand economy /群眾外包 crowdsourcing / 斜槓 slash

2. 美食外送服務: food-delivery services, app-based transport services /外送員: food courier, home-delivery workers, takeaway lad, riders /外送訂單: takeout orders / 接單: pick up orders.

3. 推出非接觸式的遞送服務: roll out contactless delivery system

4. 廉價的勞動力、大量中產階級和幾乎普級的智慧手機,促進了網路送餐服務的發展,發展程度在富裕社會中無人能及 : The combination of an abundant supply of cheap labour, a large middle class and near-universal access to smartphones had fostered the growth of online food-delivery services to a degree unmatched in the rich world.

5. 闖紅燈: jump red lights, run the red light / 超速: break the speed limit, speeding tickets(超速罰單)

6. 裁員: lay off employees, sack employees, companies are shedding staff, cut staff, our company is going to downsize and some staff will be fired, you’ve been let go.

7. 罷工: go on strike, be on strike, coordinate strikes /對工作提出嚴格要求: impose tough requirements for the job / 群聚: congregate / 委屈: grievance / 推欠薪水: wage arrears / 減薪和罰款: pay cuts and fines.

8. 大量的: myriad / 龐大的: immense

9. 進退兩難: trapped in the middle, stuck in the middle

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Ellieytc

紫微斗數命宮是武曲、星座是天蠍,加起來就是一個能文能武、說走就走的小女子。本職工作是行銷 I am here to share my ideas and experiences. Keep learning!