It was late at night and I had just got off work. Not in the mood to cook, I chose to order on Swiggy. A confirmation was received from the online food-delivery platform. However, within a few minutes of placing the order, I received a call from the Swiggy delivery person who was assigned my order. He expressed his inability to deliver the order as the delivery personnel had gone on strike.
I probed further.
Very much like this delivery executive, many of his colleagues had gathered together at some place in North Delhi to protest. I spoke to a few of them, and discovered that they were unhappy about the revision of minimum pay amount guaranteed by the Company.
The executives claimed that Swiggy has both full-time and part-time delivery executives on the roll. Full-time delivery executives receive a fixed amount of Rs 500 every day, even if they are not able to complete any order. Similarly, the amount was Rs 300 per day for the part-time delivery boys.
This group of delivery boys claimed that the daily fixed amount was slashed to Rs 300 for the full- time employees, and Rs 150 for the part-time ones. As the order was passed on Sunday, May 3, they started the protest on the evening of Monday, May 4 – the usual time to start work.
The delivery boys said that while Swiggy outlets are continuing to take orders, the riders are refusing to deliver. As per their claims, around 250-300 riders are protesting against the pay cuts.
The delivery boys informed that their colleagues across areas, such as Rohini, Avantika, Rithala, Shahdara, Ashok Vihar, Dilshad Garden, Laxmi Nagar, Keshav Puram, Kamala Nagar, Tis Hazari, Chandani Chowk, Connaught Place and some parts of Gurugram in Delhi NCR have been protesting against this slash and refusing to deliver.
These riders work from evening 6 p.m. till around 3:30 a.m. in the morning, which is a 9 ½ hour long shift.
“The pay has been deducted but the working hours remain the same. Earlier, we used to receive an incentive of Rs 20 for every completed order after 12 a.m. Now, even that has been removed,” says Vinod Singh, one of the delivery partners, speaking to HRKatha.
“Whenever we try to contact our managers to seek help in resolving an issue, they do not respond to our calls or texts,” he adds.
Singh shared that the delivery partners are demanding that this fixed payable amount be restored to what it was before. Singh also revealed that the IDs of many of the delivery partners, who were found to be involved in the protest, have been suspended by the Company.
There are other issues that the riders have been facing, on a daily basis, ever since the lockdown started. According to Singh, while waiting for an order, if they are inside the restaurant zone, the owners ask them to wait somewhere else. If they wait outside the restaurants or at a distance, they are questioned by the police. If they go farther away, there is a chance of their IDs getting suspended. They are in a real catch 22 situation.
While placing an order on Swiggy, there comes an option to tip the delivery rider any amount of the customer’s choice. The riders allege there is an issue here as well. “If a customer decides to tip us Rs 100, we only receive 40 per cent of that amount. The rest goes to the Company,” explains Singh.
Health and safety
Citing the problems with safety gear and equipment, Singh mentions that Swiggy provides a one-time reimbursement of Rs 200 to every delivery partner for sanitisers, masks and gloves. However, this is not enough. “Gloves and masks have to be disposed, and how long will a small sanitiser dispenser last? We have had to buy our own since and the Company has not promised reimbursement for these,” alleges Singh.
“Jab tak hum hain, tabhi tak toh Company hain na sir? Company samajhti hai riders ko ghora gadi,” lamented Singh while recounting their plight.
HRKatha connected with Swiggy to hear its side of the story, but the Company declined to comment.