Swiggy’s delivery executives are on a strike in the city for over two weeks over their demand for a hike in remuneration
The strike started with a demand to hike the basic pay to INR 35 for every 2.5 km
We have consistently been speaking to delivery partners to help them understand their payouts better: Swiggy Spokesperson
In another case of a strike by gig workers, food delivery giant Swiggy is facing disruption of services in Kochi. The startup’s delivery executives are on a strike in the city for over two weeks over their demand for a hike in remuneration.
While a hike in base charges has been a long-standing demand for delivery executives, the issue aggravated two months ago when Swiggy signed up with third-party app-based agencies for deliveries, The New Indian Express reported.
“For every four kilometres, one earns a basic pay of INR 20. One gets an incentive of INR 205 on accruing basic pay of INR 550. I haven’t been able to reach the target for a single day since October. As I cross INR 540, Swiggy stops assigning me orders. This has become a regular occurrence for most of us,” Arun George, a part-time delivery executive in Kochi, was quoted as saying in the report.
Earlier, George would earn up to INR 40,000 per month. However, the earnings have dwindled over the last two months as the foodtech startup stopped giving incentives, the report said.
According to another executive, the strike started with a demand to hike the basic pay to INR 35 for every 2.5 km. The executives reduced this number to INR 28 following a meeting with the District Labour Commissioner, however, Swiggy was just ready to offer INR 23 for every 4 km under the ‘My Shift’ system, the report said.
Commenting on the strike, a Swiggy spokesperson told Inc42, “We are hopeful to resume services in many areas in Kochi soon as more delivery executives return to work. Swiggy has enabled a consistent and reliable income opportunity for hundreds of delivery partners in Kochi. On average, the weekly payout of our active delivery partners in the city has increased close to 20% in the last 12 months and remains industry best. We have consistently been speaking to delivery partners to help them understand their payouts better.”
Meanwhile, as per the publication, four cases have been registered against some delivery executives over alleged incidents of violence during the strike, and there are chances of further violence breaking out between those on strike and those opting to work.
“Unfortunately, a handful of partners have consistently taken the law into their own hands, intimidating and harassing fellow delivery partners who want to work and earn an honest living. We are thankful to the authorities for their support in maintaining law; enabling hundreds of Delivery executives to work in a peaceful manner and allowing thousands of restaurants listed on Swiggy to serve customers in Kochi,” the Swiggy spokesperson added.
Recently, delivery executives of Swiggy’s competitor Zomato also organised a one-day warning strike in Kochi. They submitted a memorandum asking for an increase in surcharges, along with a system for providing aid in case of road accidents.
With the rise in penetration of food delivery and quick-commerce services, the incidents of workers protesting for higher incentives and other social security benefits have become common in recent times. In September, Dunzo delivery executives went on strike in Bengaluru. Earlier, Zepto drivers also protested against the startup over alleged unfair deductions from the salaries in Delhi.
Gig workers often work without social security benefits. Low earnings, rising fuel cost, lack of job security and leaves, and pressure to deliver products in a short-time frame are some of the common problems faced by the gig workers.
Earlier this year, a report by government think tank NITI Aayog estimated the number of gig workers in the country to be at over 7.7 Mn in 2020-21 and said that the number would increase to 23.5 Mn by 2029-30. It also called for providing social security benefits to these workers.