scorecardThe best pay masters in the gig economy aren’t good enough
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The best pay masters in the gig economy aren’t good enough

The best pay masters in the gig economy aren’t good enough
Business4 min read
  • Flipkart, Urban Company and BigBasket have been the winners among all others by offering fair wages.
  • But none of the workers are able to earn enough to have a lining after cost, a report by Fairwork added.
  • The lack of fair representation can be seen as one of the major reasons why the condition of gig workers has not improved.
Platforms like BigBasket, Flipkart and Urban Company have been ahead of peers in offering fair wages to the contractual workers who lift the heavy weight of the entire business model and multi-billion dollar valuation.

But the sad fact is even those salaries are not living wages, according to the Fairwork India report of 2021. The continued decrease in rate cards and incentives, along with increased input costs of petrol and platform commissions, have made matters worse for the Indian gig workers like delivery partners and drivers.

Company

Avg income Range, including cost

Flipkart

₹14,500-₹25,000

Urban Company

₹36,000*

BigBasket

₹18,000-₹24,000

Source: *Urban Company, Apna.com

Fairwork rates digital platforms on their treatment of gig workers who work for them. The organisation focuses on five principles — fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation. The study awards a basic and an advance point to a platform for each principle.

The organisation judged 11 digital platforms — Flipkart, Urban Company, BigBasket, Swiggy, Zomato, Amazon, Dunzo, PharmEasy, Ola, Uber and Porter.

Criteria

Player, with basic and advance* points

How to get advanced ‘(+1)’ points?

Fair Pay

BigBasket, Flipkart, Urban Company committed

Worker could make local living wage after costs

Fair Condition

Amazon, Flipkart (+1), Urban Company (+1)

Provide monetary support to workers during difficult circumstances.

Fair Contract

BigBasket, Flipkart (+1), Swiggy(+1), Zomato (+1)

Power asymmetry between platforms and workers, and the limited negotiating capacity of the latter.

Fair Management

BigBasket (+1), Dunzo, Flipkart (+1), PharmEasy, Swiggy (+1), Urban Company (+1) and Zomato all awarded the basic point

Demonstrate inclusiveness by proactively seeking to employ marginalised populations and by taking an active stance to eliminate discrimination on their platforms.

Fair Representation

None

Workers have a say in the conditions of their work to support democratic governance.

*Advance point is denoted by (+1)
Source: FairWork 2021

So, how do the workers ensure that they get a fair share of the boom in the gig economy? FairWork recommends unions. The companies don’t like the idea and even the government may not be inclined to encourage this, based on what the last Chief Economic Advisor KV Subramanian had to tell Business Insider in September 2021.

“It is disconcerting to note that despite the rise in gig worker collectivisation in the country, none of the platforms studied expressed a willingness to recognise a collective body of workers… Irrespective of their employment classification, workers should have the right to organise in collective bodies, and platforms should be prepared to engage and negotiate with them,” FairWork added.


Balaji Parthasarathy, lead investigator at Fairwork, told Business Insider that he has reached out to three-four investors of these digital platforms but so far their response has been lukewarm. The organisation now aims to reach out to foriegn-based limited partners, who invest in venture funds, to raise the condition of the Indian gig workers.

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