Issues of Gig Workers – UPSC GS3

  • The Supreme Court has agreed to examine the public interest litigation seeking social security benefits to “gig workers” and “platform workers” engaged by Uber, Ola Cabs, Swiggy and Zomato.
What are the developments in other countries?
  • European Union: It recently introduced a draft that aims to make platform companies (Uber, Instacart, and Amazon) classify their gig workforce as ‘employees’ and provide them with additional benefits.
  • US: The Platform companies in California won a battle that would allow them to continue classifying their workers as contractors as opposed to employees.
Challenges faced by Gig workers:
  • There is no transparency on how and when incentive structures would be provided.
  • There is no discussion on cost structures that would be sustainable in the long term. Currently, to grab market share, platform companies are reluctant to make customers pay the right fares. This unsustainable model forces platform companies to sustain by charging high commissions on the gig workers.
  • Platform workers have little or no voice. Technology has tilted the power and bargaining scales strongly in favour of the platform companies.
  • Platforms in India have been plagued by even more fundamental issues like
    • Frequent and random changes to the commission structure
    • Delays in payments
    • Deliberate miscommunication of earnings potential to attract gig workers
    • Lack of access to basic amenities
Way forward:
  • Situation can be rectified if everyone who is a part of this dispute namely the platform companies, the gig workers, and the lawmakers take a pragmatic approach.
Scroll to Top