Photo/IllutrationUber Eats union members protest the company's decision to cut their basic compensation in Tokyo on Dec. 5. (Takashi Yoshida)

Tokyo’s Uber Eats delivery staff aren't swallowing having a bite taken out of their basic compensation by the U.S. ride-hailing giant.

The staff labor union on Dec. 5 submitted a note to the Japanese arm of Uber Technologies Inc. protesting the pay cut as a unilateral decision and demanding that Uber engage in collective bargaining, but the company refused.

Uber, which has been expanding its delivery service of food and drinks in Japan, notified staff of the pay reduction on Nov. 20 in an e-mail. The cut took effect Nov. 29.

The Uber Eats union, consisting of 20 or so delivery personnel, visited the headquarters of Uber's Japanese subsidiary on Dec. 5 and held a news conference that afternoon.

Delivery staff's basic compensation comes from fees for pick-up, delivery and the distance traveled, according to the union.

Uber's cut lowers all three fees collected by its Tokyo delivery staff.

Under it, basic compensation for a delivery requiring a 2.7-kilometer trip dropped about 13 percent, from 570 yen ($5.25) to 498 yen.

Uber said delivery staff's total pay would not change because it increased the incentive pay for working in bad weather and for staff with high delivery numbers.

“We don't think that the pay cut will have any effect on the revenues of our delivery partners,” said an official of the Japanese subsidiary.

But Tomio Maeba, the union's chairman, was not convinced.

“Uber arbitrarily decides incentive pay, and it is not transparent,” he said.

(This article was written by Naoko Murai and Takashi Yoshida.)