Survey of gig workers paints a picture of poor working conditions and low pay

News Excerpt:

A survey conducted among more than 5,000 gig and platform workers across 32 cities in the country has found issues of health, income security & lack of regulation.

Findings of the survey:

  • The survey was conducted across 32 cities by Janpahal which is a Delhi-based NGO.
    • The report by the NGO defines gig work as “platform-based work” and the survey looked at such workers in the transport, food delivery and package delivery sectors.
  • The survey found that 85% of gig workers work above eight hours a day as drivers and riders and within that, 21% work for more than 12 hours a day. 
  • Almost 99 percent of workers cited health concerns and mental health issues such as depression, stress etc.
  • A whopping 65% of women who responded to the survey said they felt unsafe in their jobs.

Some recommendations made in the survey:

  • The report recommended that governments and regulators rename the gig, platform and e-commerce workers as “gig” is something taken up for a short period.
    • “Permanent gig work is an oxymoron,” “e-commerce workers” will be a better nomenclature to address them because, without the last-mile delivery by a human being, e-commerce cannot function, at least as of today.
  • The report also recommended regulations to ensure that companies establish fair and transparent payment structures to protect gig workers from being underpaid or exploited by companies. 
    • “Considering the physically intense nature of this work, the number of hours that are ‘regular’ hours needs to be stipulated beyond which the platform must pay overtime,”.
    • Payment of a minimum wage to platform workers will help guarantee a fixed component in the income. 
    • Commenting on the instances of blocking the IDs of workers, such practices should not be allowed and IDs of workers should not be indefinitely blocked.
  • The report asked platforms to address rising voices of income insufficiency and respond to worker demands such as reducing the amount of commission they charge per transaction or making separate payments for workers’ fuel bill, which keeps inflating as fuel prices rise.

Gig Worker:

  • Gig Workers are those who are engaged in livelihoods outside the traditional employer-employee arrangement.
  • They can be broadly classified into platform and non-platform-based workers.
    • Platform workers are those whose work is based on online software apps or digital platforms.  
    • Non-platform gig workers are generally casual wage workers and own- account workers in the conventional sectors, working part-time or full time.
  • The work they do may be project-based, hourly or part-time, and can either be an ongoing contract or a temporary position. 

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