Blinkit Delivery Partners on Strike in Parts of Delhi NCR Against Significant Drop in Payout Rate
New Delhi: Blinkit, a Zomato-owned grocery delivery firm’s newly introduced payout structure, has sparked protests from its delivery partners in several parts of the National Capital Region (NCR). A few days back, a similar protest occurred in Kolkata against the same. The new payout introduced on Monday midnight has dropped per delivery rate from Rs 50 to Rs 15, according to a partner from Delhi. The previous structure had a defined base payment of Rs 50 per delivery with incentives according to the distance travelled by the partner to deliver the order. In the new payout system, however, there is no base payment. The partner is only getting paid per kilometre of travel to deliver the orders, for which the rate ranges between Rs 9 to Rs12, which can increase to Rs 15 with an additional bonus.
Not having a base payment has sparked anger amongst the partners working 12 hours daily. According to the worker, previously, the company had revised the base pay in July last year and set it between Rs 25 to Rs 32. The partner also received Rs 1000 as an additional incentive, with Rs 400 for fuel weekly. Since December, this amount also had been stopped by the firm. The new payout also doesn’t mention this weekly amount.
“That time, we did not protest as we did not have enough support and even with Rs 25, we received a considerable amount in hand. However, with this new system, it will be impossible for us to survive this high inflation,” he adds.
According to another delivery partner from Gurgaon who wished to remain anonymous, the new payout system would significantly reduce his income, estimated to be between 50-75%. This individual has been working for Blinkit for the past three years. Before joining the company, he worked as a sales manager. He joined Blinkit during the COVID-19 pandemic after losing his previous job. While the income he received from the company was not substantial, he was able to support his family. However, with the introduction of the new payout system, he believes that it will be nearly impossible for him to make ends meet.
Responding to Inc42 queries, the Blinkit spokesperson said, “We have introduced a new payout structure for our partners that compensates them based on their effort to deliver an order. This is an opt-in exercise, and our teams are on the ground to answer any questions from the partners.”
NewsClick has also sent a mail containing questions to Blinkit on Thursday afternoon. The copy will be updated once the response is received.
The company refers to its delivery partners as "partners" rather than workers, a common practice in the gig economy. When the partners met with the Labour Commissioner of Haryana on Wednesday, he stated that because the company did not consider them employees, the issue was beyond the jurisdiction of the labour department. However, the commissioner requested a meeting with the Blinkit management.
NewsClick contacted the labour department in Gurgaon. The official who spoke with NewsClick based on anonymity confirmed the meeting that occurred today between 12 to 1:30 pm. As per the official, the department asked the management to listen to the partners and settle the matter as soon as possible. However, no solution has come out yet. Another meeting between these two will take place on Monday.
In addition, delivery partners have voiced their concerns regarding the lack of control over their performance, which is customer-driven. A single complaint can result in the termination of a partner's employment without any investigation- a problem widely reported by workers in the gig economy. The high inflation, coupled with the recent payout reduction, has put delivery partners in a difficult financial situation.
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