November 23

Analysis: Do Gig Workers’ Voices Count?

By Asiya Islam, Damni Kain

In August 2022, more than a hundred workers in Bengaluru working for online food ordering and delivery platform Swiggy went on strike. Echoing central trade unions’ demand for minimum wages, they wanted Swiggy to pay them a fixed salary of Rs. 26,000 a month. Similarly, in October 2021, around 50 women spa and salon workers working for home services platform Urban Company protested outside its headquarters in Gurugram against unfair terms and conditions.

These workers’ protests and their demand for secure wages and improved terms and conditions were not unusual, as the history of labour rights movements around the world shows. But what was unusual was their adoption of conventional workers’ tactics when they are anything but conventional workers. The platforms they work for, Swiggy and Urban Company, only recognise them as “partners”, not as employees.

Given the expansion of gig and platform work in India, it is timely that NITI Aayog released a report entitled “India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy: Perspectives and Recommendations on the Future of Work” in June 2022. It estimates the number of gig and platform workers, assesses the state of the gig and platform economy and its future, and offers policy recommendations.

Photo courtesy of JanetandPhil.

Source: The India Forum (link opens in a new window)

business development, employment, gig economy