Graphically Speaking

The ones making our lives easier, don’t have it easy themselves

According a Fairwork report, India’s platform economy is riddled with problems of unfair pay and poor working conditions

Published 3 years ago on Jan 17, 2021 2 minutes Read

Got your food delivered in 30 minutes, but did you tip the delivery boy? No? Because the delivery apps are not paying them either. Over the past 30 years, employment has seen a shift to the platform sector, but not many platforms are treating their workers like their formal sector counterparts. And, the worst among them are Zomato, Swiggy and Uber, according to the Fairwork India Ratings 2020 report.

Based on data collected from workers of 11 platforms, the report has evaluated the degree of fairness for five different metrics — pay, conditions, contracts, management and representation. Urban Company came up trumps with its workers earning above minimum wage for a 48-hour working week for most categories of services.

The survey found that transparency was established right from the first stage, with Urban Company employees getting detailed oral explanation of their contracts during the training process. The platform also scored points for redesigning equipments to improve worker comfort and safety. For instance, cites the report, massage tables were redesigned to make them lighter so that workers did not struggle while transporting them to locations.

In stark contrast, food delivery platforms such as Zomato and Swiggy witnessed a drop in their score in 2020, against that of 2019. The precarious working conditions worsened as the survey found that employees were not reimbursed for the costs borne by them for carrying out the deliveries. While Zomato employees complained of the 10-hour login policy, Uber drivers pointed out the lack of responsive communication channels and incomprehensible terms and conditions.

But, how can things get better? The report suggests that consumers have the power to change the status quo. By making informed decisions about which platform they would like to give their business to, consumers can pressurise companies to improve their working conditions. So, bystander or workers’ ally — the choice is yours.