Blinkit Strike Continues as Worker-Management Talks Make no Headway, Next Meeting in May
Image Courtesy: Twitter/@Dipankar_cpiml
The meeting between Zomato and striking workers of its grocery delivery platform Blinkit with the labour department, Gurgaon, has failed to break the deadlock.
Hundreds of Blinkit workers in Delhi-NCR have been on strike since April 12 over the new payout structure, which significantly reduces the per-delivery payment.
They deliver at your doorsteps and keep the Blinkit and Zomato coffers growing, but get only a pittance in lieu of this hard work. Support the Blinkit workers' ongoing protests against the regressive pay structure. pic.twitter.com/hB43RRjjCU
— Dipankar (@Dipankar_cpiml) April 16, 2023
A labour department official requesting anonymity told Newsclick that the meeting lasted for approximately four to five hours with the previous one held on Saturday.
The official claimed that the Blinkit management rejected the workers’ demand of restoring the previous delivery payment of Rs 25-Rs 50 and presented a proposal that offers a bonus of Rs 500 to a worker who completes 100 deliveries per week and Rs 1,000 for 200 deliveries.
When the workers rejected the proposal, it was decided to convene another meeting in May to end the dispute. The official added that other demands such as a valid parking area, sitting space, and basic facilities, like toilets and drinking water, were accepted by the management.
In Gurgaon alone, approximately 2,500 Blinkit workers are on strike. One worker requesting anonymity told Newsclick that the “management’s conditions are cruel and unexpected from a company of such repute”. “It dehumanises our labour. Only 10% of the workforce in Gurgaon has returned to work while the rest are looking for jobs.”
Several workers’ bodies have supported the strike with the Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers (IFAT) criticising the company’s unilateral decision. According to IFAT, more than 200 Blinkit dark stores in Delhi-NCR are closed due to reduced payouts.
IFAT national president Shaikh Salauddin told Newsclick over the phone that the “company is outsourcing work to companies like Rapido, which provide delivery agents, but ignoring its workers”.
“The company made a profit due to these workers but has discarded them despite having earned significant money through IPOs. Our union has called for the revocation of the new payout structure. The strike reflects a growing awareness of the importance of labour laws and the rights of gig economy workers,” he said.
In the last two years, gig workers from other platforms like Swiggy, Ola and Uber have also protested low payouts and unfair labour practices.
The App Karmchari Ekta Union, affiliated with the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), launched a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #Standwithblinkitworkers on April 16 against the company’s unilateral decision to revise the rate card for its workers.
We extend support to Blinkit delivery workers' struggle against the newly launched arbitrary pay structure by the company.
— App Karmchari Ekta Union (@ake_union) April 16, 2023
The union had also sent a charter of demands to Union labour minister Bhupender Yadav but claimed that it was ignored. AICCTU general secretary Abhishek expressed disappointment with the “government’s unwillingness to recognise app-based workers as workmen”.
“Despite earning revenues in thousands of crores, companies like Blinkit, Zomato, and Swiggy are targeting workers demanding their rights. Soon, gig workers will join the larger struggle to ensure their rights,” he added.
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