KOCHI: As many as 5,000 online food delivery workers at Swiggy started an indefinite strike on Monday after their demand to increase remuneration was turned down by the management. Though a tripartite discussion was held under the supervision of the district labour officer in the presence of Swiggy officials and union representatives, it failed to reach an amicable solution.
The main demand of the workers is to hike the minimum wage from Rs 20 to Rs 35 for every delivery made in a 4-sq-km radius in Kochi. “The management was not ready to increase a single paisa. Though the workers’ union representatives agreed to a minimum wage of Rs 30, the management stuck to their stand. Had the management been cooperative, the strike would have been amicably settled,” said District Labour Officer P K Navas.
This is the second discussion the labour department is holding within a week. “The management is of the opinion that if they increase wages, they will be forced to increase it in other centres also. They claimed that the move will put them in financial trouble,” the officer said. The labour department is planning to hold further discussions with the top officials of Swiggy.
Meanwhile, the indefinite strike of workers received support from several quarters, including writer N S Madhavan. “The fact is that no labour laws exist for gig workers. Their working conditions are terrible, wages low and employers capricious. This strike and many more are required to establish human rights in the gig economy,” he wrote on his Twitter page.
Arya, an advocate by profession, wrote labour laws exist is proof enough to say that matters relating to employment are matters of right. “Swiggy delivery drivers have just as much right to demand proper pay and a healthy work environment like any other person,” she tweeted.