The delivery partners of Swiggy and Zomato have protested against unfair payout in many traditional ways in the past. This time, however, they are using the same tool used by food delivery startups to amplify their voices. Yes, they are making the best use of social media platforms.
A number of new Twitter accounts have mushroomed in the recent past that are supporting delivery partners’ protests online over the past week. This is happening at the time when both Zomato and Swiggy have raised a hoard of cash from investors to put into marketing and operations.
Surprisingly, many of those tweets criticising Swiggy and Zomato and revealing information that puts the company in a difficult situation, are no longer available to embed.
Tweets from @SwiggyDEHyd (and @DeliveryBhoy) shed light on the poor treatment of delivery staff, who are complaining about the lack of compensation at the time of skyrocketing petrol costs, absence of first mile pay, lack long-distance returns bonus and daily earning caps. Interestingly, their posts have been retweeted thousands of times and liked by thousands of avid social media users.
Although the companies claim that their delivery partners are being paid more than at the beginning of the pandemics, those who spoke with them said that their wages have dropped by as much as 60% and they get on average Rs 15-20 per order.
Unfortunately, not many delivery partners are ready to voice against such unfaor policy as they fear of losing their jobs if their voices are heard. SwiggyDE’s creator said that this motivated him to create a Twitter account. He claims that he is a Swiggy delivery partner in Hyderabad since 2018.
He said, “Increasing petrol prices are an enormous headache for us and our company is doing absolutely nothing.”
Zomato’s Mumbai delivery partner, a 30-year-old man who has been with the company for over three years, claimed that the company has cut his pay up to half since the outbreak of the pandemic. After working 12 hours per day, six days per week, he said that he earned Rs 15,000 a monthly. He, however, fears of facing consequences if he raises this issue.
“Both Zomato and Swiggy reported improved unit economics due to their decreased aggressive discounting during pandemics and higher delivery charges. Delivery partners stated that these improvements have not translated into higher pay.
When ET approached to Swiggy and Zomato with a questionnaire seeking their response in the matter that is widely being discussed on social media. Both companies claimed that the average earnings of delivery partners has increased over the past year.
Zomato claims that its average delivery partner payment per order has increased by 20% in the past year. The firm stated that this is due to the addition of variable components it has incorporated and continues to add to pass as many benefits as possible to delivery partners.
Swiggy stated that in July it added a permanent petrol component to delivery partners. This is updated monthly. Zomato stated that it updated its fuel rate card in February and that it automatically adjusts to fuel price increases each month.
Countering the claims of the companies, SwiggyDE’s spokesperson said that although orders have increased since the peak in the second wave, they still receive less than before the pandemic. Also, incentives have been reduced.
The food-delivery sector saw its orders drop by 70 to 80% during the first months of the nationwide lockdown. Most restaurants were closed and supplies were limited. Swiggy’s delivery partners protested in September, claiming that their wages were being cut. Teamlease, which connects blue-collar workers with online platforms, says that demand for delivery partners has increased by double-digits in metro areas and non-metros.