The Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers, in a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, said its affiliates in over 10 cities have reported increased risk and casualties.

Swiggy and Zomato workers riding, photo taken from the back
Atom App-based workers Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 15:06

App-based drivers and riders, including drivers of Ola and Uber as well as those who work for companies such Swiggy, Zomato, Dunzo, Shadowfax, etc. have appealed for a moratorium on their loans up to September 2021, as the services of many companies, especially those of ride-hailing companies, has been impacted by lockdowns in various states. Further, they also said that all app-based transport and delivery executives and riders be prioritised for vaccination, and that the companies bear the cost.

The Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers (IFAT), in a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also requested that instructions be given to loan recovery agents to “stop engaging in violence or highhandedness in repossessing the vehicles”.

The federation said that its affiliates in over 10 cities, including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Nagpur, Chennai and Lucknow have reported increased risk as well as increased casualties.

It also alleged that the companies “have not taken any cognisance or responded to our requests to support the drivers/riders economically in these distressed times”.

“Promises have been made by companies like Uber and Zomato to initiate vaccination drives for its workers who have been working tirelessly to keep transport of passengers and food operational but nothing has come to fruition,” the letter added.

IFAT also appealed to the government for other reliefs, including the extension of the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana, the Union government’s food security scheme. It also asked government taxes and fees for commercial vehicles to be waived off. In addition, it demanded that the companies be directed to provide economic relief to the cab drivers “at the rate of Rs 1,175 per day and Rs 675 per day to the food delivery riders”.

It also alleged that the Motor Vehicle Guidelines under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways that not less than 80% of the fare must go to the drivers was being violated.

“Similarly for app-based food delivery workers, an upward revision of rates and incentives should be advised. These are at shamefully depressed levels,” it said.

It also demanded that PPE kits should be given to drivers by companies, and sanitisation points for cleaning of vehicles be set up.

“The companies and Govt. should identify and ensure that the households of all drivers and delivery workers who have died due to COVID-19 are provided a compensation of Rs 15 lakh,” it further demanded.

It also asked for the medical expenses of those infected by COVID-19 during work be covered.

“A provision of “Limited Liability” should be introduced to safeguard drivers and riders from customers who are corona positive but avail the services. it should be made mandatory that they should inform the driver or delivery worker so that they can take additional safety measures while interacting with them. The company and the Govt. Should ensure strict adherence of these guidelines,” it also said.