homeeducation NewsUrban Company tops Fairwork ranking for gig workers, Ola and Dunzo score zero highlighting need for better policies
education | Dec 27, 2022 4:24 PM IST

Urban Company tops Fairwork ranking for gig workers, Ola and Dunzo score zero highlighting need for better policies

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Gig workers are those engaged in livelihoods outside the traditional employer-employee arrangement. According to the NITI Aayog report titled 'India's Booming Gig and Platform Economy', 2020-21, there are estimated to be 7.7 million gig workers in India, and they are expected to expand to 23.5 million by 2029-30, making them an integral part of the Indian workforce.

The gig economy is on the rise in India, but recent data shows that gig workers in India still don't have fair pay and good working conditions. According to the Fairwork India Ratings 2022: Labour Standards in the Platform Economy report, gig workers at Ola, Uber and Dunzo have the worst working conditions across various parameters.

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The study by Fairwork India, spearheaded by the Centre for IT and Public Policy (CITAPP), International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore (IIIT-B), in association with Oxford University, evaluates 12 platforms offering location-based services in sectors such as domestic and personal care, logistics, food delivery, e-pharmacy, and transportation, in India.
Amazon Flex, Bigbasket, Dunzo, Flipkart, Ola, PharmEasy, Porter, Swiggy, Uber, Urban Company, Zepto and Zomato were the 12 platforms studied for the report.
None of the platforms scored more than seven out of a maximum of 10 points. Neither scored all the first points across the five principles (fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation) for gig workers.
CompanyRating 
Urban Company 7/10
Bigbasket6/10
Flipkart5/10
Swiggy5/10
Zomato4/10
Zepto2/10
Porter1/10
Amazon Flex0/10
Dunzo0/10
Ola0/10
PharmEasy0/10
Uber0/10
"The promise of flexibility of the digital platform economy raises as many questions about livelihoods as it offers opportunities," said Professors Balaji Parthasarathy and Janaki Srinivasan, the Principal Investigators of the team.
Gig economy workspace in India: The good and the bad 
As per this year's survey, the same three platforms - Urban Company, BigBasket and Flipkart - that scored the first point for Fair Pay last year also scored a point this year.
Another key finding was that gig platforms in India have been uncompromisingly unwilling to recognise or negotiate with any collective body representing workers.
Additionally, no platform provided sufficient evidence that workers earn at least the local living wage after work-related costs.
BigBasket, Flipkart, Swiggy, Urban Company, and Zomato provide fair conditions for simplifying their insurance claims processes and have operational emergency helplines.
Only BigBasket, Swiggy, and Urban Company have policies relating to the loss of pay and financial safety due to medical illness.
Also, no platform could secure points for recognising a collective body of workers to represent gig workers, even though a collective body or trade union is a vital dimension of fairness at work.
Fair pay, upskilling and representation
"You people don't know how to do anything else. That’s why you are in this job, so at least do this work properly, '' said a man as he drove his car away from 20-year-old Rajesh Yadav's bike, which had hit his car on a junction.
"Humari kaun hi izzzat karega. Hum to ye aap logon ki tarah bade offices mai kaam thodi karte hai (people don't respect us as we don't do corporate jobs in big offices)," said Yadav, who is a bike rider with a taxi app.
Gig workers are those engaged in livelihoods outside the traditional employer-employee arrangement. According to the NITI Aayog report titled 'India's Booming Gig and Platform Economy', 2020-21, there are estimated to be 7.7 million gig workers in India, and they are expected to expand to 23.5 million by 2029-30, making them an integral part of the Indian workforce.
Fair pay, better working conditions and upskilling opportunities not only aid the gig workers financially but also help them with representation and respect.
Younger individuals, particularly those from lower-income backgrounds, are drawn to gigs offered by platforms like Uber and Swiggy since they offer short-term income opportunities. However, they keep them employed for prolonged periods in a career without a long-term growth trajectory.
“With the increase in demands of gig platforms, instead of being short-term, temporary, and optional forms of work with little to no control by employers, working in a gig platform has become a forced long-term commitment for those they engage,” said Shalani Bhagat, a lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.
Recognition of gig worker bodies, proper contracts and fair pay is the need of the hour. "Workers should be provided with written contracts along with minimum wage protections. This would be beneficial, especially for the female workforce," added Ujani Ghosh, Manager, Thought Leadership and Policy at IET India.
Although it is evident that companies are making efforts towards changing the landscape for gig workers, there is lot of work still to be done.
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