Urban Company is the best gig economy app-based platform to work for in India, according to ratings by Fairwork. At the bottom of the table are Swiggy, Uber and Zomato. The report, prepared by the Centre for IT and Public Policy at the International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore (IIITB), along with partners at the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester, looks at the practices in the gig economy. It looks at fair pay, conditions, contracts, management and representation.
The report estimates that the eleven platforms it features â€” Flipkart (Ekart), Amazon (ATS), Uber, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy, Urban Company, Dunzo, Grofers, Bigbasket and Housejoy â€” have a workforce of over 30 lakh.
On a score out of 10, Urban Company scored 8, Ekart scored 7, Dunzo and Grofers 4; ATS, BigBasket, Housejoy and Ola 2; and Swiggy, Uber and Zomato 1.
â€śWhile the potential of high wages and short payout cycles continues to draw workers to platform work, there was insufficient evidence that workers on seven of the eleven platforms earned the minimum wage rate after accounting for costs. Urban Company, Flipkart, Grofers, and Ola were the exceptions. This highlights the need for regulation and worker consultation on matters of pay,â€ť the report states.
It also adds that with the exception of Urban Company and Dunzo, there was insufficient evidence to show that â€śaccessible, readable and comprehensible terms and conditions were available to workers.â€ť
â€śWith a growing reliance by some platforms on labour recruited from subcontractors, workers were often unclear who was responsible for their working conditions and for the payment of wages,â€ť it adds. It also highlights that the jobs have limited or no social security benefits.
The report also found that Ola, Swiggy, Uber and Zomato workers were â€śincreasingly dissatisfiedâ€ť with the communication channels, and that helpline numbers that were provided were unresponsive most of the time or had premeditated responses. When it came to communication, only seven of the platforms demonstrated due process in decisions affecting workers, and workers had avenues where they can reach out.
Workers on these platforms added that ID blocks without warning were frequent, and that there was no documented process to appeal when they were blocked.
â€śWorkers also complained that they had to report the block at the platform hub in order to be unblocked, which effectively meant losing out on daily earnings and daily / weekly incentives,â€ť the report added.
It is important to note that the report did not have enough evidence that any platform currently recognised or was even willing to recognise worker trade unions. â€śOverall, none of the platforms showed an interest in acknowledging, or encouraging, worker collectivisation,â€ť it added.
â€śVery happy to share that Urban Company has topped the Fairwork Foundation (Oxford University) India Ratings 2020, which ranks platform economy companies on the fairness of working conditions for their gig workers. Urban Company scored 8 out of 10. Apart from healthy earnings, Urban Company partners enjoy a host of benefits such as free training, access to standardized tools and products, free PPE and safety gear, access to loans, life, accident and health insurance etc. Glad to see that our efforts have been recognized by the Fairwork Foundation," said Abhiraj Singh Bhal, Urban Company's co-founder.
Zomato co-founder Deepinder Goyal tweeted that they knew they had things to work on, "but we didnâ€™t know that there is so much room for improvement". "All of us here at @zomato take full responsibility for our abysmal scores in this area, and we will leave no stone unturned to perform better in these rankings next year," he said.