Online food delivery of Swiggy in Kochi has come to a halt in the wake of an indefinite strike by around 5,000 delivery partners, demanding a hike in their remuneration.

Vipin Vincent, secretary of the Food Online Delivery Workers Union affiliated with AITUC said the discussions conducted at the initiative of the District Labour Welfare Officer, P.K. Navas, have failed to arrive at a consensus, as the company management has not agreed to heed to workers’ demand to increase their remuneration.

According to Vincent, the workers were demanding ₹35 for each delivery in a 2.5 km radius from the current rate of ₹20 for four km and ₹6 for an extra one kilometer. The company is not considering the return trip in the payment for supplying food items for a particular range or kilometer for delivery. The hike in fuel prices has made things worse for delivery agents and it has now become unviable to continue the service. Moreover, the employment conditions and the payout structure are also unfair, he said.

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“We held a token strike on October 31, but the company management had not agreed to the demand during the discussions”, Vincent said. Even the initiative by the Labour Officer to avoid the strike by further reducing the wages to ₹30 for 4 km has not been agreed by the management, Vincent said, adding that the failure of talks has forced the workers to go for an indefinite strike.

He alleged that the rate card is different in various cities.

Swiggy officials were unavailable for comment.

There are also reports that Zomato delivery partners in Kochi are also gearing up to launch a similar protest. Online delivery partners resorted to a strike some time back in Thiruvananthapuram demanding better wages.

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