Food delivery workers with Swiggy took out a protest march to the zonal office of the company here on Thursday demanding better remuneration. The workers are on an indefinite strike since Monday.
Around 4,000 workers from Ernakulam joined the strike, said V.S. Sunilkumar, president, Food Online Delivery Workers’ Union, which is affiliated to the AITUC. Mr. Sunilkumar claimed that the company management had not heeded to appeals by its workers.
However, the management in a statement said, “Swiggy has enabled a consistent and reliable income opportunity for hundreds of delivery partners in Kochi. On an average, the weekly payout of our active delivery partners in the city has increased close to 20% in the past 12 months and remains the industry best. We are currently speaking to delivery partners to make them understand their payouts better and encourage them to return to work. We regret the inconvenience caused to our users and hope to resume services soon.”
The workers began the indefinite strike on Monday after talks between the management and workers’ representatives failed. The talks were held in the presence of the District Labour Officer.
Vipin Vincent, a delivery worker, said the remuneration paid by the company was too low to keep the workers on the job. At present ₹20 is paid for 4 km. The company does not take into consideration the fact that delivery workers have to travel to a new point to take fresh delivery.
“The workers have demanded that their payment per 4 km be increased by ₹10 or the basic distance for a trip be reduced. The current payment works out to be a paltry sum as it costs between ₹2.5 and ₹3 per km for the workers,” Mr. Sunilkumar said.
The protest march was peaceful. The protesters who converged near the company office dispersed after registering their protest, and there were no untoward incidents, said Mr. Vincent.