Pizza Hut Home Delivery offered 600,000 yuan ($94,340) in compensation Tuesday to the family of a part-time deliveryman who died while delivering pizza during typhoon Haikui, the deliveryman's family said Tuesday.
The company made the offer after a second round of private negotiations Tuesday with the family of the dead deliveryman, Zhang Jinzhong, according to his cousin, Li Dongzhi. The family had demanded 950,000 yuan in compensation from the company.
"Pizza Hut should take all of the responsibility for my cousin's death," he told the Global Times. "How could they require him to go out in such bad weather?"
A spokesperson for the delivery company refused to comment Tuesday on Zhang's death or the negotiations. The company is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands Inc, which owns Pizza Hut and other famous restaurant chains, including KFC and Taco Bell.
Zhang died August 8 while out on a delivery for a Pizza Hut delivery franchise on Jinian Road in Baoshan district. The 24-year-old Shandong Province native was walking through a residential community on Gonghexin Road in Zhabei district during the storm when a falling tree severed a high-tension power line that landed in a nearby puddle, the newspaper Metro Express reported at the time. Zhang screamed and collapsed on the ground, where he remained for 20 minutes until a local resident wearing insulated rubber gloves and boots came to help. By then, Zhang was already dead.
"It was his last delivery of the night, but he never made it back home," said a friend of Zhang's who also worked as a deliveryman for the company. The friend asked that his name not appear in the newspaper.
Despite the strong winds and heavy rains that evening, the company continued to send out men on deliveries, even after KFC and McDonalds stopped accepting delivery orders, the friend said. He said his store's manager asked higher level managers to close early because of the storm, but he was refused.
Four Pizza Hut store managers contacted by the Global Times refused to discuss the matter. "After the accident, the company held a meeting and told us to stop discussing it," the friend told the Global Times.
The family's demand for compensation is higher than many previous death-related settlements in Shanghai, said Zhou Zhiquan, a lawyer specializing in labor law from Yingke Law Firm. The average nationwide standard for one-off compensation is about 400,000 yuan, plus fees. For similar cases in Shanghai, compensation is usually around 500,000 yuan.
"I think the company's offer is appropriate, and the family's demand is a little bit high," Zhou told the Global Times.
Zhang's cousin, Li Dongzhi, said that one of the reasons behind the size of their settlement demand is that Zhang was the only hope to carry on the family line because his brother was unable to have children.
"If the family refuses the company's final offer and turns to labor arbitration and the courts, they probably won't get a much higher settlement," Zhou said.