The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea by gig workers challenging "violation of fundamental right to social security" by aggregator applications such as Zomato, Swiggy, Ola, and Uber.
A bench comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice BR Gavai issued notice to Zomato, Swiggy, Ola and Uber, seeking their reply on the plea filed by the "Indian Federation Of App Based Transport Workers (IFAT)".
The plea by IFAT claims an employer-employee relationship between workers and platforms. "Big platforms refer to them as independent contractors," it said.
The plea highlights that Uber drivers in the UK and the US have been held to be workers while the company is called an employer.
"We seek a declaration that the drivers or delivery workers are actually workmen in the classical sense of the word. Worldwide for Uber they have been considered as workers. The UK Supreme Court analysed the contract (between Uber and the employee) that this is only a subterfuge and the real relation is that of employee and employer," senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for IFAT, said.
"New labour code has not been notified... Even under current laws, gig workers are eligible to workmen rights," said Jaising.
The trade union of gig workers had moved SC alleging violation of fundamental right to social security by Ola, Uber, Zomato, and Swiggy, and also accused them of exploitation through forced labour.
The plea alleges that these companies violated rights by refusing to recognise them as "workers" under social security laws.
IFAT, in its plea, has sought recognition of gig workers as "unorganized workers" under Unirganised Workers Social Security Act and cash transfers of Rs 1175 per day from the companies till the pandemic subsides.
The court will hear the case in January 2022.