A section of food delivery executives held a token protest in Bengaluru outside the Karnataka Labour Department office on Wednesday demanding compensation for loss of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the demonstration, the members of the United Food Delivery Partners’ Union, a Bengaluru-based collective, met Additional Labour Commissioners Manjunath and Narasimha Murthy. Most of the members of these unions are attached with app-based companies like Zomato and Swiggy.
The union had previously approached the state government to seek some protection for these workers, who alleged abuse of workers’ rights by the companies.
The protesters said that the Karnataka state government announced Rs 5,000 each as one time relief to construction workers’ and also to auto and taxi drivers. A relief package is announced for barbers and weavers as well.
In a statement, the union said, “The government is willing to announce relief packages to 11 other sectors as well. This is a very welcome move by the government, and it is much required at this hour of distress. But the government seems to have neglected lakhs of food delivery executives, who (were dubbed) ‘essential services’ during the period of lockdown. There is an emergent need of announcing a relief package to this section of workers as well.“
Detailing on their distress, the statement added, “Food delivery executives work on the basis of piece rates. Before the lockdown, according to an estimate, in Bangalore alone there were around 14 lakh orders per day, which were getting distributed among 1.5 lakh delivery partners. But now the number of workers as well as the number of orders are reduced to just 40 percent to 50 percent."
It further said, "Now, the delivery executives will have to travel tens of kilometres for each order. Even then, the payout they receive for each order is very meagre and they are working for a paltry sum. The life of delivery executives who are working now is in doldrums.”
The union also expressed apprehension that some of these workers who are attached to app-based companies and have left their workplace and returned to hometowns will be subjected to lower pays or even no work when they return.
The union had earlier met the state Chief Secretary, Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad and Additional Deputy Commissioner of Belagavi and submitted their memorandum.
1. Immediately announce a relief package for food delivery executives.
2. Issue directions from the government to different platforms to not reduce the incentives and rate card. Rather, they should increase incentives.
3. Issue strict directions not to block ID’s of any worker who works under Zomato, Swiggy, Dunzo etc.
4. Food delivery executives reach out to many people and hence they are constantly under the threat of getting infected. Therefore, ensure that the companies provide necessary mask and hand sanitizer for the delivery workers.
5. There have been reports of attacks and robbery on food delivery executives during food delivery. Kindly take measures to ensure safe working conditions