Delivery Partners Protest Blinkit's New Pay System: Gig Workers in India Fight for Fair Treatment

Zomato-owned grocery unit, Blinkit App’s services are ‘temporarily unavailable’ in the Delhi-NCR region as it shows on the application. The reason behind the hit is the protest of delivery partners. The majority of Blinkit delivery partners are protesting in Gurgaon over the latest change in their pay structure.
Delivery Partners Protest Blinkit's New Pay System: Gig Workers in India Fight for Fair Treatment

The delivery partners have been on strike since Wednesday in the Delhi-NCR region and their protest is in continuation to date. Blinkit delivery partners observed black day on Saturday and burned an effigy of Blinkit company. Workers choose to wear black bands and participated in the protest against the new and arbitrary pay structure launched by the food delivery giant Zomato-owned Blinkit.

Delivery partners will now be paid a minimum of Rs 15 for each delivery instead of the previous Rs 25 under Blinkit's new payment system. This is the reason that led to the strike by the delivery partners. Around 50 dark stores of the grocery app are shut in the Delhi-NCR region, which is affecting the general public that depends on the app for quick delivery of home needs at their doorstep.

Regular users of the Blinkit app have been unable to place orders in numerous locations in Delhi and the NCR region for the past few days due to a notice on the app that reads, "Due to extreme demand, temporarily unavailable."

Quick commerce platform runs more than 400 dark stores around the nation, with a significant presence in the Delhi-NCR region. Nearly half of these dark stores are present in the Delhi NCR region.

Pic by Blinkit delivery workers

Delivery executives to continue their protest

Blinkit delivery workers have been protesting in the Delhi-NCR area since Wednesday against the new compensation system, alleging it will lower their compensation. They have been asserting that fees have decreased from ₹25 per order to roughly ₹15 per order with the addition of a distance-based price component.

The Mooknayak reached out to the quick commerce application’s delivery partners to know the exact problem in the compensation that they are facing. Sumit, a delivery partner with Blinkit, who handles the app’s deliveries in DLF Phase-2 Gurgaon says, “Initially we had a rate card that said ₹50 per order will be given to the delivery partners. After a few months, the company deducted it to 50% which made our income per order to be just ₹25. Now, they have crossed all the limits of exploitation, they have launched a new rate card saying ₹15 will be given to all the delivery partners per order.”

A source told us that some delivery partners were paid ₹50 per order even after the amendments in the compensation policy and now the company has made an equal policy for all the delivery partners which brought them directly to receiving ₹15 per order.

Protesting gig workers told The Mooknayak that Blinkit delivery partners would not be working in the Delhi-NCR region if the app doesn’t take their current payroll policy back. They also said we would make sure this protest happens PAN India, and there are workers who have stopped working and are on strike since the announcement of the new rate card by the quick commerce app.

‘Zomato’s acquisition of Blinkit brought troubles:’ Protesting Delivery Partners

Zomato purchased Blinkit (formerly known as Grofers) for $550 million last year in order to join the "quick commerce" movement, which entails providing products to customers in a matter of minutes.

The Mooknayak spoke to another delivery partner with the Blinkit app who didn’t wish to be named. The partner said, “The time when Zomato quired Blinkit, it assured us that there will be no changes in the rate card and we’ll be getting the same but later on it turned out to be just the opposite. The company has also canceled our weekly incentives.”

The Mooknayak inquired about the present state of gig workers associated with Blinkit and asked about the way the company treats its delivery partners. In further conversation with Blinkit’s delivery partner Sumit, he added, “We have to deliver heavy groceries till 5th-6th floors by stairs since some buildings don’t have lifts. It is difficult for us to survive on this payroll. On some products, Blinkit charges ₹30-40 more than the normal market rate and after this, they are denying a decent compensation to us. This is completely not acceptable.”

‘Gig workers work for 14-15 hours to earn ₹700-800 daily’

Blinkit delivery partners said that they work for nearly 14-15 hours a day to get a minimal payment of ₹700-800. While discussing the same with The Mooknayak workers said that Blinkit is the main source of livelihood for them.

‘We are gig workers we work daily to earn our daily bread and butter:’ Delivery Partner

A delivery partner said, “We can not leave the job and apply somewhere else as there is a notice period to serve. Here, we don’t have a fixed monthly salary, it is just the incentives that we earn from.”

India currently has 7.7 million gig workers, according to NITI Aayog data, and that number is expected to rise to 23.5 million by 2029–2030. This new class of formal workers has emerged as a result of the success of companies like Ola, Zomato, BigBasket, and other quick-commerce businesses, but the point is that this workforce is highly exploited. The majority don’t receive the proper workplace treatment and perks that they should.

In India, many gig workers are not protected by labor laws and are not eligible for benefits like health insurance and retirement plans. In the event of illness or injury, gig workers sometimes do not have the same degree of protection as regular employees.

Gig workers are frequently paid less than regular employees and they also don’t receive the same legal protections. In order to avoid accountability and paying taxes, some businesses may misclassify gig employees as independent contractors. Gig workers frequently operate independently and may not have a physical workplace, they may not have the same social networks and support systems as regular employees.

Gig Workers: New Face of Employment in India

They are found all throughout. As "delivery riders," they continuously pedal their bikes around after collecting orders from chains of restaurants or stores in an effort to hit daily goals. They pick up and drop off passengers in their capacity as taxi drivers for transport aggregators in the hopes of making a respectable wage at the end of the day after company deductions.

The new face of employment in India is the gig worker, which can be a delivery person, a cab driver, a repair person, or a beautician. Many of them have a good education but have entered the gig economy, which operates in the grey area because there aren't many conventional possibilities that match their qualifications.

Gig workers cannot claim concomitant benefits such as minimum salaries, hours of work, overtime, leave, etc. as compared to the majority of traditional long-term employees because gig labor is a relatively new type of workforce involvement and has not yet been established in Indian courts. This is due to the fact that the sort of work performed by gig workers is not covered by the existing labor regulations.

Gig workers have limited recognition under the current Indian labor law. Due to the lack of "employee" status under Indian Law, gig workers are subject to a number of limitations, including the inability to organize unions to protect their interests and contact with exploitative parties.

Blinkit Delivery partners who have been on strike since Wednesday said that their demands for amendments in the rate card have been taken forward to the Labor Court by Yashpal Batra who is the State's Co-spokesperson for BJP, Haryana, and was also the Former Sr. Deputy Mayor of Gurugram. The delivery partners say they will decide the future course of action basis the judgment of the labor court. The Mooknayak reached out to Yashpal Batra for a comment on the same to which he replied, "I have taken the interests of delivery partners forward in front of the authorities. The court will pronounce the judgment tomorrow. I have submitted the demand letter of change in the current payroll given to the Blinkit delivery partners."

Delivery Partners Protest Blinkit's New Pay System: Gig Workers in India Fight for Fair Treatment
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