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Delivery personnel’s woes continue, so does their protest

When the city-wide lockdown was announced, Lakshmi’s first concern was her children. Once their safety was assured, her next concern was to continue putting food on the table. For two agonising weeks, the delivery executive with a food-sharing app was left with little respite for her family of five.

Delivery personnel’s woes continue, so does their protest
Swiggy delivery executives staging a protest in Chennai


“My husband and I are both delivery executives,” said the mother of two. “In the beginning, we had no work and were scared for our children. Also, my mother-in-law requires medicines for her health. All this weighed heavily on our minds, and I couldn’t sleep for the first few days.”

Restrictions were eased, and Lakshmi took to the road again. She was able to support her family. However, this lasted for only so long. Delivery executives from Swiggy took to the streets of Royapettah last Thursday, protesting against the new pay-per-order changes, with each order now fetching them only Rs 15 from the initial Rs 35.

Delivery executives across apps share the same woes, with local executives working with apps like Zomato and Dunzo reporting similar issues. One delivery executive with Dunzo, who wished to remain anonymous, joined the application in April in the absence of his usual work. However, he has now ceased working with the app.

“They had announced an incentive of Rs 1,200 just for joining the app. However, with more people joining, this was not given to us. I began earning nearly Rs 7,000 in the first week, which steadily declined to less than Rs 3,000. It is simply not feasible to sustain my family,” he said, adding that Dunzo now offers only Rs 20 from the earlier Rs 30 per order.

Executives share that a major portion of their costs goes into covering petrol costs and their daily food needs.

In the case of Dillip, 20, who works with another delivery app, it was the mental and physical strain that led him to opt out. “I would wake up at 6 am and slog until the shops close between 8 to 9 pm,” he said.

Safety was another major concern. While delivery executives were initially given single-use masks and sanitizers, they did not receive any compensation to buy safety gear moving forward.

With the strike continuing, the executives opine that customers need to support them by taking up their case. “Customers need only press a few buttons from their home’s comforts and food will reach them. But the danger, money woes, and the stress is something only we delivery boys know,” said Dillip.

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