An incident of robbery took place in Lahore where a delivery boy carrying food items was looted near Batapur area on Friday. After the snatchers left, the food delivery boy was seen crying on the side of a footpath, upon which passersby called the police and informed them about the incident that took place.
According to the police, three robbers on a motorcycle snatched cash, mobile phone and pizzas from the delivery boy and fled the scene easily. The police said that the delivery boy came to deliver Pizzas in the Jallu Nehar area but got looted at Batapur before he could reach his destination.
After the incident was reported on 15 helpline, police was alerted in the area and an investigation has been launched for the case. If the people hadn’t helped the boy who got robbed, the blame of the product lost was likely to fall on him and often times they have to compensate for the product from their own earning.
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Exploitation in companies
People who opt for food delivery service are often coming from very humble backgrounds looking to work and earn for their families. Such segments of society are often the best target for big multinational companies for exploitation and manipulation.
One such case has been making rounds on social media where a Twitter user from Hydrabad, India has called out food delivery company Swiggy for exploiting the rights of the workers. In his tweet, he opened up about how Swiggy considers the workers “Delivery Partners” instead of employees which is why they do not get minimum wage, provident fund, employee insurance or any other such benefits.
Swiggy calls us "Delivery Partners". That's why labour laws are not applicable for us. We don't get minimum wages, PF, ESI, any benefits.. Our lives will change only when they treat us as their employees. We are just ID's, not humans in the eyes of @swiggy_in
— Swiggy DE (@SwiggyDEHyd) July 28, 2021
After the tweet, many more Swiggy and Zomato workers joined the Twitter debate and expressed their hardships that their respective companies ignore.
“They call us partners but they don’t treat us that way. We are slaves to them,” said Jamshed, 43, a delivery man in Gujarat who works for both Zomato and Swiggy. “We aren’t employees for them but labour, so they expect us to not raise our voices or ask questions. But with no job security, how do we survive?”
Many of the workers work 12-14 hours a day, just to earn minimum wages. Similarly, ever since the pandemic, their hardships have only increased. Another delivery executive who works for Zomato said that his pay had been halved since the beginning of the pandemic. Many people lost their job during the pandemic which is why more and more people were inclined towards such odd jobs to make ends meet.
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Another Twitter user, working for Zomato has started an ad campaign after seeing the constant exploitation in these companies. One of his tweets highlighted how Swiggy is cheating the system to deduct the daily incentives of the workers.
@Swiggy has another innovative way to cheat DEs. If you don't make a certain amount of money you dont get your daily incentives. So basically THEY pay you less and then don't give you incentive because YOU earned less. In my zone it was 375 to get extra 100 and 650 for extra 200 https://t.co/OFL7yluA66
— Delivery Bhoy (@DeliveryBhoy) July 29, 2021
According to him, Zomato has a “complex” algorithm that decides how fast the food is delivered. This means that many food delivery boys risk their lives trying to deliver the order before the optimum time.
Both Zomato and Swiggy have responded to the allegations after severe backlash from people.
In a statement issued, Swiggy claimed that “Unfortunately, the payouts shared on social media are selective and do not include other major components, such as incentives. While a particular delivery’s payout varies depending on distance, delivery time and other factors, our average delivery partner payout in Hyderabad was Rs 65 per order last month with the highest-performing partners making Rs 100 per order.”
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Similarly, Zomato has claimed “As we shared in our quarterly shareholder letter before, we’ve been actively working on this already, and our delivery partner Net Promoter Score (NPS) has increased from -10% to 28% (and continues to rise)”.
Such stories from minimum wage workers have been coming from time to time and there needs to be stricter laws to protect their rights. One such initiative has been taken by China where Chinese regulators have ordered online platforms to ensure food delivery riders earn above the country’s minimum wage, be freed from unreasonable demands placed upon them by algorithms, and have access to social security and a place in a union.
Such guidelines should also be imposed by countries like Pakistan and India where poverty ratios are already pretty high which ultimately increase the chances of exploitation at the hands of such multinational firms.