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India’s gig economy comprising Zomato, Swiggy, Ola, Dunzo, others may serve 90m jobs, add 1.25% to GDP

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More people became compatible with the idea of placing online food orders, which otherwise was largely popular among corporates and millennials.In the near-medium term, India’s gig economy may deliver as much as 24 million jobs via technology-based gig platforms.

India’s gig economy, which has gained momentum in the past few years with the growth of startups and internet companies such as Zomato, Swiggy, Ola, Uber, Urban Company, Flipkart, Amazon, Dunzo, others, is likely to serve up to 90 million jobs in India’s non-farm sector in the “long term”. The transaction value of the volume of work performed by gig workers could be worth more than $250 billion while the overall gig economy could contribute an incremental 1.25 per cent approximately to India’s GDP, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Gig work is broadly referred to on-demand jobs with little to no formal contracting. Globally, over 200 million are considered involved in the gig economy.

The long-term potential of India’s gig economy is expected to be comprised of around 35 million skilled and semi-skilled jobs within industry sectors, around 5 million jobs in shared services such as facility management, transportation, and accounting, around 12 million household demand for different services, and around 37 million unskilled jobs across different sectors in the economy. However, construction, manufacturing, retail, and transportation, and logistics could be the four largest sectors accounting for more than 70 million of the expected gig jobs in India.

Gig jobs have been existing in India for decades given the country’s large informal economy and ‘casual workers’ segment including temporary farmworkers, daily-wage construction labourers, and household help. While personal references and offline networks continue to help source and meet the need for such on-demand jobs, the use of technology and the internet has enabled match-making much easier between employer and employee. Importantly, while the convenience of work and flexibility might be some of the benefits in the gig model, there have been concerns around minimum wage requirements, worker protection, and consumer rights.

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For instance, according to the UK-based FairWork Foundation, supported by The Oxford Internet Institute, which published its second India report in December 2020, on the labour standards in India’s ‘platform’ economy, the working conditions for the gig workers were found to be better at home services startup Urban Company. Flipkart (riding on its logistics arm eKart) was on the second spot, down from the first spot last year. Importantly, Amazon’s logistics service Amazon Transportation Services (ATS), Ola, BigBasket, Housejoy were ranked towards the bottom while Swiggy, Uber, and Zomato were found to have the worst working conditions for their ‘partners’, according to the report. , The report had focused on five areas of fair platform work such as Fair Pay, Fair Conditions, Fair Contracts, Fair Management, and Fair Representation.

“Apart from healthy earnings, Urban Company partners enjoy a host of benefits such as free training, access to standardized tools and products, free PPE and safety gear, access to loans, life, accident and health insurance, etc. Glad to see that our efforts have been recognized by the Fairwork Foundation,” Abhiraj Bhal, Co-founder, Urban Company had told Financial Express Online.

In the near-medium term, India’s gig economy may deliver as much as 24 million jobs via technology-based gig platforms, the report titled Unlocking the Potential of the Gig Economy in India by BCG and MSDF noted. The country’s employment has historically been inclined towards agriculture as over 40 percent of the overall labor force or more than 210 million of over 500 million workers are engaged in agriculture and allied sectors. The remaining 290 million are part of the non-farm sectors.

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How Proposition 22 Blocks Cities and Counties From Giving Hazard Pay to Gig Workers

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Haney added that Proposition 22 has given gig companies legal grounds to sue and block an ordinance like this if they decide they don’t want to comply with it.

“Sometimes, as a local government, we are preempted by the states or feds, but usually when that’s the case, another regulatory body or the state Legislature is taking up the responsibility,” Haney said. “What’s the case here is that some regulations that were written into law by the companies and passed by the voters have made it impossible for anyone to provide more extensive and stronger regulations.”

Rey Fuentes, a legal fellow at the Partnership for Working Families, said California cities and counties have a history of pioneering progressive pro-worker legislation, like San Francisco’s paid sick leave program, which he said was the first of its kind in the nation.

Fuentes said it’s important for municipalities to test new policies out so that there are models for state and federal laws. “This allows for the experimentation that I think is so vital to our democracy and to developing good policy,” he said.

While grocery stores are pushing back on the hazard pay by temporarily closing locations and threatening legal action, gig companies don’t have to. Proposition 22 stops local governments from even trying to get higher wages or better benefits for gig workers, halting local experimentation with policy that could help the state’s growing number of app-based gig workers who are denied employee benefits and protections.

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UK Deliveroo riders to strike over pay, gig work conditions

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Wednesday, April 07 2021
AP

LONDON (AP) — Riders for the app-based meal delivery platform Deliveroo held a strike in London Wednesday over pay and working conditions, part of a broader backlash against one of the U.K.’s biggest gig economy companies.

Scooter and bicycle delivery riders waving flags and red smoke flares rode through the streets of Central London. Socially distanced protests were also planned in York, Reading, Sheffield and Wolverhampton to demand fair pay, safety protections and basic workers’ rights.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain, which represents migrant and gig workers, expected hundreds of riders to take part.

Deliveroo said that “this small self-appointed union does not represent the vast majority of riders who tell us they value the total flexibility they enjoy.” Rider surveys found most are happy with the company and flexibility was their priority, the company said in a statement.

The strike coincides with the first day of unconditional share trading for Deliveroo, which went public last week in a multibillion pound stock offering that was one of Europe’s most hotly anticipated IPOs this year. However, a number of institutional investors skipped the initial public offering, citing concerns about employment conditions for riders and a dual-class shareholder structure that gives founder Will Shu outsize control.

The company, which operates in a dozen countries in Europe, the Mideast and Asia, saw its business boom over the past year because of COVID-19 restrictions that powered demand for meal deliveries. More than 6 million customers order through its app each month and the company promised some longtime riders bonuses from the IPO.

However, riders say they haven’t been sharing in the success because the company has been paying them less.

The “success they claim to have had during the pandemic was built on our backs,” said Wave Roberts, a Deliveroo rider in Reading and vice chair of the union’s couriers branch. “It’s not sustainable. It’s got to the point where they’ve hired too many people. They’ve lowered the fees too much.”

Deliveroo and other gig companies in the U.K. that rely on flexible workforces are also facing looming regulatory challenges, after the U.K.’s top court ruled Uber drivers should be classed as “workers” and not self-employed, entitling them to benefits such as minimum wage and pensions.

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For all of AP’s tech coverage, visit https://apnews.com/apf-technology

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Follow Kelvin Chan at www.twitter.com/chanman

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This story corrects Roberts’ title to vice chair of union’s couriers branch.

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