The report ranked 11 platforms — Amazon, BigBasket, Dunzo, Flipkart, Ola, PharmEasy, Porter, Swiggy, Uber, Urban Company and Zomato. “This year, no platform scored more than seven out of the maximum of ten points, and none scored all basic points across the five principles,” the report said.
Flipkart earned 7 points in the report, retaining the points it earned last year, whereas Urban Company, which earned 8 points and was at the top in 2020, was down to 5 points in 2021. Zomato and Swiggy’s performance in 2021 fared better than last year, with both their scores at 3 and 4 respectively for 2021, while they scored 1 last year.
A source in one of the cab aggregators said that out of several lakh drivers, only around 10 were interviewed. The source also said that some of the questions sent by Fairwork were too ambiguous and therefore, some of the data was not shared.
The report found that across platforms, the take-home earnings of gig economy workers had dwindled — in line with reporting from various platforms about worker struggles. It reported that work-related costs had gone up as well. “This decline is also in keeping with the long-term decline in the incomes of workers due to a decrease in rate cards and incentives,” the report said
Three companies — BigBasket, Flipkart, and Urban Company have committed to ensuring that minimum wage is paid for after accounting for work-related costs.
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“Most platforms were unable to effectively mitigate occupational risks that workers routinely face, including road accidents, theft, violence, and adverse weather conditions, in their work,” it said.
In a world where they were also at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, the report said that platforms did provide insurance policies, improve the claims process, provided safety equipment etc.
In terms of contracts, Fairwork said there was an improvement in the accessibility and readability of contracts. “However, the comprehensibility of contracts remains a challenge, and many platforms lack either a defined notification period, or a process, before changes are made to worker terms and conditions. Three platforms have committed to reducing the asymmetry in liabilities imposed on workers. Yet, the (mis)classification of gig workers as ‘independent contractors’ or ‘partners’, continues,” the report said.
Actions initiated by the company against the gig workers has been an issue that has been raised several times. The report said that seven platforms had an appeals process for workers to challenge action against them. “Only four platforms took a proactive stance to eliminate discrimination of workers on their platforms by consumers, by other workers, or by work allocation systems,” it said. These were BigBasket, Flipkart, Swiggy and Urban Company.
The willingness of platforms “to recognise and negotiate with worker collectives among platforms is lacking,” the report added, stating that it should not be surprising if the reluctance of “financially and technologically powerful platforms to bridge the asymmetries between them and their socially vulnerable workers fuels more protests.”
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