A section of food delivery executives of Swiggy in Kochi are protesting over a reduction in payment scale. The food delivery executives allege that payment scale was changed without any intimation from the management to the employees. Scores of delivery executives are staying away from service as part of the protest on Wednesday.
About 200 delivery executives of Swiggy took off from service on Tuesday disrupting the normal functioning of the online food delivery company, which is very popular in Kochi.
As per the payment scale, a delivery executive gets a minimum of Rs 25 for delivering food within 4 Km, and they would get additional amount of Rs 5 for each extra kilometre. But now as per the new pay scale, the minimum payment is Rs 25 for delivering food within 5 km. Apart from this, the executives also allege that the company’s management has taken away waiting charge for the executives.
“This new change was brought by the management from Monday without giving us any intimation. This change also drastically reduces the payment we receive now,” a food delivery agent who works in Swiggy told TNM.
However, Swiggy has denied disruption in services in Kochi.
“Swiggy’s delivery partners are at the heart of our service and success in Kochi, and it is our constant endeavor to provide them with consistent payouts and incentives. These payouts are in alignment with the efforts of our partners on-ground, and takes various parameters including peak hours and distance into consideration. We continue to be committed to serving the city with the best food experience, while providing steady earnings to our delivery partners,” a Swiggy spokesperson told TNM.
Industry sources say that there has been no change in the pay scale for delivery executives in the past few months.
Further, with respect to the change in waiting charge, earlier the wait charge was based on time slabs like X amount for 1-5 minutes, etc. However, this has now been changed to a different method where Swiggy pays delivery executives per minute. “Waiting charge is very much there. Its just that the criteria has changed and it is now effectively effort-based revision – if wait time is more, you’ll get more and if it less, you can quickly move on to your next delivery, thus making more,” the source told TNM.
The delivery agents are also dismayed over the company taking away some of the monthly and weekly incentives they had offered earlier. “The management functions in a way they please without giving a thought about the workers here. They change the pay scale whenever they want and take off incentives without discussing with the delivery executives. All of a sudden we will receive messages saying such and such changes are made in pay scale, waiting charge etc.,” the delivery executive said.
Working for 12 hours a day used to fetch the delivery executives Rs 1,000, but now, with the recent changes, the workers will have to work at least 16 hours to make the same amount.
According to the executives, protest was their last resort. “On Tuesday, some of us went to the management to give a letter citing our needs. But the officials denied to even accept the letter from us. This forced us to stop the service and hundreds of delivery executives came to the office at Palarivattom in Kochi to protest over the matter,” the delivery executive said.
The executives also allege that the company does not provide incentives uniformly to all the delivery agents.
“The company is only giving incentives for those delivery agents who were hired six months before. The newly hired executives are not given any incentive,” Akhil, a part time executive of Swiggy and a law student in Kochi told TNM.
Akhil has been working in Swiggy for the past three months, but he does not receive the incentive of Rs 500 per day that a section of delivery executives get.
The delivery agents have decided to approach the government. "We will give complaint regarding this to the District Collector and Labour Officer," said a delivery executive.