Food delivery service Swiggy’s delivery executives continued to strike in many cities, including Chennai and Hyderabad, over the roll back of incentives they were previously eligible for. They allege that due to the reduction in payment rates, their daily earnings have reduced significantly.
The protests began on August 14 in Chennai, after Swiggy reportedly withdrew 20 weekly and monthly incentives that delivery executives were previously provided if they met certain performance criteria. Also, the incentive they got for delivery during lunch and dinner times has been cut. Delivery executives would work through one of those peak hours and rest in the other. “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,” an executive said. They further added, that their daily earnings have been reduced by more than half. “Previously, if we clocked Rs 900, we used to get an incentive of Rs 200. We would work from 11 am to 11 pm and would make some profits. Now, they have increased rides, reduced payment, they said if we get Rs 375 we get Rs 150 as incentive. They say things like this and surge costs etc, but nothing is getting added to our final payout. We are not getting incentives. At this time don’t play with the rules,” a delivery executive said.
The company has been alleged of citing the coronavirus lockdown to withdraw incentives for long distance orders, for delivering during the rain and also increased daily targets. Swiggy’s staff further stated their order fee has been reduced by 133% from Rs 35 per order to Rs 15 per order as per the company’s new policy; which infact was even higher at Rs 40 a few months back. “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?” a delivery executive when being asked by a reporter.
Swiggy, however described the allegation of delivery fee being reduced to Rs 15 as ‘inaccurate’. “This Rs 15 component is ONLY ONE of the seven components of the payout. Naturally, zero active delivery partners in the city have earned only this component. Most delivery partners who have actively delivered during the week made over Rs 45 per order. In fact, the highest performing partners made over Rs 100 per order across the entire week,” it said.
Swiggy, in it’s defense argued that the daily rates are a part of a complex structure in which those who work more can still earn higher amounts. It has also said that it has supported its staff through other means during the economic downturn. They said, “During the lockdown, when many cities were shut, we financially aided delivery partners who continued to log-in despite not being able to deliver any orders.”