Protest against wage reduction boils over at Swiggy

Agitators move Labour Commissionerate; matter to be heard on June 12

Delivery executives of online food delivery service Swiggy have been protesting for the past three days in the city against reduction in pay. They alleged that the company had, in the past two days, suspended the profiles of around 40 protesters on their app.

According to the protesters, Swiggy has done away with the payment they receive for waiting at restaurants. “We were paid ₹5 for each kilometre travelled and ₹5 for waiting at and picking up orders from restaurants. With the new system, which was introduced on Monday, the payment for waiting has been stopped,” said Samson Sebastian, who has been a delivery executive for six months.

Around 250 executives raised the issue with the company on Tuesday, Mr. Sebastian said. Subsequently, the company took up the matter with the Palarivattom police. According to police sources, the two parties were summoned and told to settle the matter between themselves.

“A company representative told us that after a week or two they would adjust the payments. But they have not kept their promises earlier. This is the third time in the past few months that they have reduced our incentives,” Mr. Sebastian said. “Around 40 of us who refused to accept the representative’s suggestion found our profiles deactivated on the app on Wednesday,” he added. The protesters had approached the Labour Commissionerate on Wednesday, and the matter was posted for hearing on June 12.

Meanwhile, a Swiggy spokesperson said only a handful of executives had been suspended, and that the services had not been hit. “The payouts are in alignment with the efforts of our partners on ground and take various parameters, including peak hours and distance travelled, into consideration,” he added.

Akhil Soman, another delivery executive, said around 2,000 delivery partners in Kochi would be affected by the reduction in incentives. Besides, the suspension is likely to affect executives who hail from far away places and live in the city on rent.

Mr. Sebastian rued that the executives would now take longer to reach the target of ₹1,000 for a day, at which they are promised an incentive of ₹575. “We will now have to travel a few extra kilometres to earn what we were paid earlier,” he said.

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