UPDATE 1-China postal authority proposes changes to country's express delivery rules

(Adds details from statement, background)

SHANGHAI, Jan 7 (Reuters) - China’s postal authority on Friday proposed revisions to the measures by which the country governs its express delivery market, which includes ones aimed at stamping out unfair competition and improving the protection of employee rights.

The State Post Bureau said in a statement published on its website that it was necessary to improve how the industry was regulated given its growing importance to China’s economic and social development in recent years. The measures were first introduced in 2008 and last changed in 2012.

The proposal, which is open to public feedback until Feb. 5, also said it wanted companies to establish carbon management systems and to use environmentally friendly products. They will also be required to establish systems to maintain the stability of their networks.

Chinese authorities have targeted platform companies driving the so-called “gig economy” this year, as part of a wave of regulatory tightening that has lasted over a year.

Regulators have criticised these companies for policies that they said exploited workers, were monopolistic and infringed on consumer rights.

They have been pushing them to guarantee workers income above minimum pay and insurance and are also expected to revise rules to allow gig economy workers, such as couriers and ride-hailing drivers, to form unions.

Some of the largest players in China’s vast express delivery market include S.F. Holdings’ SF Express, YTO Express, STO Express and Alibaba Holdings’s logistics affiliate Cainiao. (Reporting by Brenda Goh Editing by Shri Navaratnam & Simon Cameron-Moore)