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Karnataka government looks to frame labour rules and regulations for app-based compaines

Considering the “social responsibility” towards the thousands of delivery boys and cab drivers working for mobile application based companies, the Karnataka ( government has decided to intervene in the matter and frame labour rules and regulations for the “new class” of employees.


In a first, labour minister S Suresh Kumar and the labour department held an hour long discussion involving representations from both sides of the aisle— company representatives and labour activists - to understand the problems of employees.


“While the companies have categorically said the delivery boys and cab drivers are their partners, in reality, it is claimed by labour activists they are nothing more than employees. As a result, I have directed our deputy labour commissioner Balakrishna to have a discussion with both parties and give us a detailed report within a month from today. The government will take into consideration this report and frame requisite labour laws for the app based compaines," said kumar.


Activists at the meeting challenged food delivery companies including Zomato ( and Swiggy, apart from cab companies like Ola and Uber, of having “lopsided” models which favour the management and does not include welfare of “employees”.


“In fact, companies are indulging in unfair labour practices by sending messages on social media to attract the youngsters to their companies. These companies suggest that a delivery boy can earn Rs 25,000 a month and have insurance of Rs 6 lakh if they join their companies. Now, they claim their delivery boys are partner agents. Is this fair?” alleged Dr Kumar, a labour activist.


Representatives from Swiggy legal team countered and said a coverage of Rs 1 lakh for medical purposes and another Rs 5 lakh for accidents was earmarked for each delivery partner.


“Now, the delivery partners are free to work in places apart from Swiggy. In fact a sizeable number of our partners are college students and professionals who come to earn an additional income,” claimed Pandurang, from the company legal team.


However, another labour activist claimed the assessment was wrong and the companies were using a flawed Pareto model (majority income comes from a minority number of employees) to prove their case.


“Most employees/partners are those who earn a livelihood from only delivery of food . So much so, companies tend to keep an incentive as equivalent to the delivery rates for each order. At present, the delivery boys are forced to work for the incentive to earn a decent sum, as delivery rate per order is in the range of Rs 12-Rs 15,” claimed another activist at the meeting.


IT industry unions on the anvil? On the controversial issue of allowing labour unions in the information technology and biotechnology (IT-BT) industry, the government has decided to call for a separate meeting of both the IT companies and labour unions to thrash out the issue.

Source: TOI