Several prominent startups in India, including Ola, Uber, Dunzo, PharmEasy, and Amazon, have some of the worst working conditions for gig workers in India, revealed a report by Fairwork India. The report assessed several prominent businesses and scored them based on how proactively they worked to create fair working conditions for the lowliest of their workers, namely gig economy workers.
The study, which was conducted in partnership with the University of Oxford, said the firms above failed to provide fair pay, fair contracts, fair management, fair representation, or fair working conditions to their gig workers, getting a score of zero on 10.
On the other hand, firms such as Urban Company, BigBasket, and Flipkart, did pretty well. The report gave Urban Company a score of seven out of 10, six to BigBasket, five to Flipkart and Swiggy, four to Zomato, two to grocery delivery firm Zepto, and one to Tiger Global-backed delivery firm Porter.
In its annual report, Fairwork India stated that “This year, only Bigbasket, Flipkart, and Urban Company were awarded the first point because of the public commitments they have made to paying workers at least the hourly local minimum wage after factoring in work-related costs.”
“Bigbasket and Urban Company have operationalized this by committing to reimburse the difference between worker’s earnings per hour and the hourly local minimum wage after costs. Flipkart and Urban Company have committed to basing their pricing structure for workers on the hourly local minimum wage after costs. Flipkart has also undertaken steps to hold its third-party service providers to the same commitment,” the report added.
In recent years, more and more people have been participating in part-time or gig-based work. Despite this, there has been no effort by most companies relying on gig workers to extend the team member benefits that regular employees enjoy to gig-economy workers. The benefits that gig workers are deprived of include some basics like health insurance.
“The promise of the flexibility of the digital platform economy raises as many questions about livelihoods as it offers opportunities. We hope the Fairwork report provides the basis for an interpretation of flexibility that allows for not merely the adaptability that platforms seek, but also the income and social security that workers lack,” said Professors Balaji Parthasarathy and Janaki Srinivasan, the principal investigators of the team, in a statement.