Delivery partners of Zomato and Swiggy participate in a march to the Raj Bhavan on August 19 (Courtesy: Jyothish).
Zomato workers in Thiruvananthapuram won a decisive battle against the management’s unilateral decision of cutting down incentives. The management yielded to their demands after the indefinite strike entered its fourth day on August 19.
After the conciliation talks, Zomato and its delivery partners have reached an agreement wherein weekly incentives would be calculated under three new slabs and the rain surge percentage has been reinstated.
After refusing to participate in the conciliation talks, called by the additional labour commissioner, Zomato was left with no option but to talk to the workers following their spirited struggle.
‘GIGS SCHEME AFFECTED WORKERS’
The workers were shocked after Zomato changed policies unilaterally and shifted to the ‘GIGS’ scheme in March. This affected the flexibility of working time and days while income was hit by the withdrawal of the several incentives.
“The workers and even the company were unable to estimate the income and incentive that they earn every week. The mandatory login every hour and the penalty for not doing so ate into our income,” Jyothish, secretary of the Trivandrum District Online Delivery Workers Union, told Newsclick.
“After working for 12-14 hours daily, we were earning around Rs 700-Rs 800 a day from which we had to meet fuel and other expenses. Considering the amount of work and the travel time, this is a very small income,” Jyothish added.
The workers sent a strike notice on July 27 demanding the restoration of incentives and other benefits. When the company did not respond, they submitted their demands to the chief minister and the ministers for labour and industries.
Subsequently, the workers declared an indefinite strike on August 16 under the leadership of Thiruvananthapuram District Online Delivery Workers Union, affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), and were joined in their protest march by their Swiggy counterparts.
Shiju Khan, district secretary, DYFI addresses Zomato and Swiggy delivery workers during the Raj Bhavan march. (Courtesy: Jyothish).
INCENTIVE SLABS FORMED, RAIN SURGE BONUS REINSTATED
After the intervention of the state government and labour officials, talks were held on August 19. Two officials from Zomato and four leaders, including four from the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), on behalf of the delivery partners participated in the talks.
“More than 250 workers from both Swiggy and Zomato took part in the march, which was inaugurated by DYFI leaders. The talks were possible due to the effective intervention of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government. Zomato officials had to concede to our demands,” Jyothish said.
Under the agreement, a worker will receive a weekly incentive of 15% if his delivery amount is up to Rs 4,000. Workers with a delivery amount up to Rs 5,000 and Rs 7,500 will receive 25% and 35% incentive, respectively. The rain surge bonus has also been reinstated at Rs 25 for peak time and Rs 20 for non-peak time.
Another important demand of the workers was regarding the disciplinary action taken by the company against them. The company had reserved the right to terminate them without notice. “A show-cause notice will be issued to the partners before taking disciplinary action like termination or disabling in the app,” the agreement reads.
The company has also agreed to intimate the implementing variation in kilometre charges for delivery and pick-up while the waiting time pay at restaurants has been reduced to 10 minutes from 15 minutes. The profiles of the workers who participated in the strike will also be activated immediately.
Zomato officials were unavailable for a response.