App delivery workers in India strike against increasing exploitation

April 28, 2023
Protesting Blinkit delivery workers. Photo: South Asian Solidarity/twitter

A new pay scheme introduced by Blinkit, a quick-delivery grocery unit under one of India’s largest food delivery platforms, Zomato, has sparked protests by delivery workers across several cities in the country.

Discussions with the labour department failed to address the key issue of pay revision.

Protests by Blinkit delivery partners were reported in Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, and the national capital New Delhi. In videos shared via social media, protestors were seen burning effigies of the quick-commerce platform and holding placards against it. They are demanding that the new pay structure, which will reportedly reduce their current incomes upon implementation, be immediately rescinded.

Zomato bought Blinkit in 2022 for US$568 million.

The new payout introduced on April 10 has dropped per delivery rate from Rs 25 ($0.30) to Rs 15 ($0.18). The previous structure had a defined base payment with incentives according to the distance traveled by the partner to deliver the order. In the new payout system, however, there is no base payment. The partner will only be paid per kilometer of travel to deliver the orders, for which the rate ranges between Rs 9 ($0.11) and Rs 12 ($0.15), which can increase to Rs 15 ($0.18) with an additional bonus.

The workers of the aggregator app, who are called “delivery partners” or “delivery executives” by the company, are angry about the loss of their basic income at a time when inflation is soaring at 5.66%.

[From Peoples Dispatch/Globertrotter News Service.]

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