CHENNAI: The delivery executives working for Swiggy in Chennai have been on a strike since Thursday night, demanding the company to roll back the new wage policy. The striking staff alleged that the new policy provides them only Rs 15 per order compared to the earlier Rs 35.
On Saturday, at least 50 executives staged a protest in Royapettah while many small protests were held at different parts of the city. Executives also charged that their incentives have been slashed and that they cannot achieve break-even with revised wages.
The protests disrupted food delivery services in many parts of the city. Speaking to Express, a delivery staff from Swiggy said that the company used to pay them Rs 40 for an order within 4 km radius. “We did not fight back when they brought it down to Rs 35. But now, it has further dropped to Rs 15. How can we feed our family with this?” the executive rued. He added that with the new wage structure, he will be getting only Rs 300 even if he delivers 20 orders a day.
Another delivery executive from South Chennai said that their incentives also have been slashed drastically. He explained that there are two delivery peaks in a day; around lunch and dinner timings, and they would receive incentives for working through either one of those peaks. “We used to get some time to rest in between. Now that the incentive has been taken away from us, we have to work for a minimum of 12 hours a day to earn such incentives,” he said. The incentives for long-distance delivery, services during rains, monthly and weekly incentives have all been reduced, he said.
A delivery executive from Central Chennai said that Swiggy must bring back the previous wage package and also implement a base pay for each day. “We have been risking our lives during the pandemic to ensure that people do not go hungry. We need to have minimum wages in place,” he said. “We sit on the pavement and eat. Even auto drivers sit inside their rickshaws and eat. We lose our dignity every day so that our family gets to eat at home. We cannot have that taken away from us,” he added.
In a statement to Express, a Swiggy spokesperson said that their delivery fleet has been crucial as it offers essential services. “The company has specially instituted ‘Swiggy Hunger Savior COVID Relief Fund’ to provide financial protection for delivery partners through “income-protection insurance, sustenance support for the ones facing any hardships and coverage for all medical/hospitalisation expenses related to Covid-19, not just to delivery partners but also their family members.” The statement further said, “We are in constant touch with the delivery executives and are working towards addressing the matter at the earliest.”