Zomato seems to have turned over a new leaf, with the food-delivery platform claiming an improved net promoter score (NPS) of its delivery partners from 10 per cent last year to 28 per cent in the last few months.

‘No improvement’

But the gig workers’ unions and anonymous Twitter accounts continue to dispute the claim, stating there has been no change in the working conditions.

According to Zomato’s latest letter to shareholders, the company has set up its own delivery partner NPS survey, which claims to directly engage with 76 per cent of its delivery partners. The company claims to have recorded 310,000 active delivery partners in July, the highest-ever number in the platform’s lifetime. “This (survey) is statistically significant, unlike third-party surveys, which are subjective to say the very least,” said Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal and CFO Akshant Goyal in the letter.

In 2020, Fairwork India, an entity under the University of Oxford, had scored Zomato low on the five gig work principles, including fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation.

A day after the opening of Zomato IPO, Fairwork India had also expressed hope that the increased accountability around public companies will improve the working conditions of Zomato’s delivery partners.

The food-delivery major claimed to have introduced new measures for improving the working conditions of its delivery partners. These include changes in the payout structure, extended cash limit, and easy access to insurance-related information, among other things.

Zomato claims to have added an additional fee for long-distance and increase in fuel prices (among other variables) to enable better payout for delivery partners.

These changes are said to have increased delivery workers’ per order earnings by 15 per cent when compared to last year. “We believe we pay our delivery partners fairly for the work that they put in.

“On average, the top 20 per cent of our delivery partners, who deliver on bikes and put in more than 40 hours a week, receive a payout of more than ₹27,000 per month,” said Zomato in the latest statement.

Daily earnings

A Zomato delivery partner, associated with Telangana Gig and Platform Workers’ Union (TGPWU), told BusinessLine that he currently earns a minimum of ₹15 per order (for orders under 3 km), but some of the new hires are also being offered a minimum of ₹20 per order.

He added that in the case of long-distance orders, the additional fee has been increased from ₹5 per km to ₹5.75 per km.

Overall, he estimates his daily earnings to be around ₹1,100, of which, he takes home about ₹500 to ₹600 after paying for petrol, bike maintenance, lunch, and parking costs at some restaurants.

Since last week, screenshots on the working conditions and payouts of delivery workers have been circulated on Twitter by anonymous accounts.

In a recent press statement, Shaik Salauddin, National General Secretary of Indian Federation of App Based Transport Workers (IFAT), and State President ofTGPWU, noted that decreasing incomes of delivery workers, as a result of falling rates and high fuel prices, have pushed them to work longer hours to achieve targets and earn incentive pay.

“Algorithmic management tools ensure that food delivery workers work under tremendous time pressure risking their lives; this is evidenced by scores of delivery workers meeting with road accidents and several losing their lives in these accidents,” Salauddin added.