Fairwork Foundation

Crying over a delivery executive’s salary? Read on

After 75 yrs, if we are comparing educated men to labourers and asking them,’ What’s the problem with this salary?’ Then we should all take some blame and feel a little shame about this situation.

Dharmesh Ba
‘Farmers, Daily wage workers, house help, factory workers earn less money. Why should a delivery executive earning Rs.16,000 cry about it?’ Why is this a flawed argument? A deconstruction 🧵
The devil lies in the details. Let’s look at the DE’s challenges from these four quadrants 1. Individuals 2. Society 3. Organisation 4. Government
Individuals – The DE A fresh engineering graduate in a big MNC like TCS/CTS would receive a 22-24k in hand salary after the training period. This is a best-case scenario. Non-MNC and Non-Engg folks start at 10k on average.
Hyperlocal apps promise DEs an average payout of 20-25k, making it an attractive offer for anyone to earn an MNC salary irrespective of their qualification. The work as per your wish rule and be your own boss is an added cherry on the top.
Once they become DE, they work 12-hour shifts to complete the targets and earn the promised sum. This leaves them with little/no time to upskill or look for a better job. Before you know, you are already in it for two years without making much progress with money or in life.
The problem is that the companies have been systematically reducing the cost per order from Rs.40 to Rs. 30 to Rs. 20. At Rs. 20, it is not viable to be a DE and has to be compensated by long hours and working through surge periods.
The outcry is not because they earn less but because of the discrepancy between what is promised and what is received in real life.
2. The society: Let’s face it. DEs are treated as different in public spaces. They are denied access to malls, restaurants etc. I have also seen UCs cry about how while ordering on these apps; they will have to eat the food delivered by LCs and non-Hindus.
3. Hyperlocal apps: Besides knowing the limitations of an individual, pushing them to work long hours in the name of gamification and incentives is chronic capitalism. Imagine keeping them as contract workers so that you could replace them in the blink of an eye. It’s sad.
People are not variables in your economic theory, but they are fellow-beings with blood and soul.
4. Government: It’s high time govt recognises gig economy workers and brings in regulations to get the appropriate benefits and a promised basic pay. Also, the availability of gig workers to work at lower pay is not just a supply-demand problem but an unemployment problem.
People move to bigger cities to escape caste inequalities, but we have successfully created a tech ecosystem with inequalities differently. At least most of them enjoyed respect and dignity back in their hometowns, but they seem to have lost it in the hands of algorithms.
After 75 yrs, if we are comparing educated men to labourers and asking them,’ What’s the problem with this salary?’ Then we should all take some blame and feel a little shame about this situation.
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