A survey by think tank NCAER covering workers of an app-based food delivery platform showed that an average platform worker put in 69.3 hours a week, as against 56 hours for a worker covered by the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) — which means he worked 23% extra.
The survey also showed that the average monthly real income fell from Rs 13,471 a month in 2019 to Rs 11,963 at the end of May 2022 as the share of fuel cost went up. But the monthly income was 8% lower at Rs 20,774, as against Rs 22,494 for a comparable worker. The gap in hourly wage would work out to be much higher.
What compounds the pro blem is the absence of health insurance, although accident insurance is available. In contrast, nearly a third of the average worker covered by PLFS had some sort of social security cover. Besides, the app workers did not have paid leave as against over 35% for comparable categories of workers.
Over two-thirds of the food delivery workers had joi ned the platform seeking higher income, the survey showed. While easy entry was one of the reasons cited by the respondents, 9% came on board due to job loss — with 67% doing so during the pandemic (translating into 6% of the overall base).
The survey revealed that owning a two-wheeler, which was a prerequisite to get the job, was not as much of a barrier as owning a smartphone, a key to delivering food, as only 55% possessed them before bagging a contract. Besides, an average app worker had to spend over Rs 680 to buy a kit comprising T-shirts and bags