De­liv­ery ex­ecs go on strike af­ter Zo­mato cuts pay­outs

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global - Dig­bi­jay.Mishra

Bengaluru: Food de­liv­ery ex­ec­u­tives of Zo­mato hit the streets across Mum­bai and Bengaluru protest­ing the com­pany’s new in­cen­tive struc­ture, which of­fers less money per de­liv­ery. Zo­mato has also in­formed restau­rants that they should pre­pare for a rider churn in its fleet this week as it is try­ing to ra­tio­nalise costs. The move by Zo­mato comes amid in­tense ri­valry from Swiggy and UberEats, all of whom had dou­bled pay­outs last year as they looked to ex­pand fleets ag­gres­sively.

Ac­cord­ing to four de­liv­ery ex­ec­u­tives TOI spoke to, they will have to do more de­liv­er­ies to earn the same in­cen­tive, mak­ing it harder to cross the thresh­old to earn a bonus pay­out. “Roughly, we have to do three­four ex­tra de­liv­er­ies for each level of in­cen­tives. I end up do­ing de­liv­er­ies for at least 12 hours per day, and some­times it has

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. gone up to 14-15 hours as well,” said Prashanth, who had just re­ceived a new or­der to de­liver from Bengaluru’s cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict on Mon­day evening. He did not want to dis­close his last name.

For Zo­mato’s de­liv­ery staff, among the changes, they will now get an in­cen­tive of Rs 850 for 46 touch­points, mean­ing Rs 18.6 per touch­point. Ear­lier, the scheme of­fered Rs 20 per touch­point. This rate is only for week­days, and each de­liv­ery ac­counts for two touch­points.

This comes at a time when the ris­ing ‘gig-econ­omy’ is be­ing seen as a ma­jor av­enue of job cre­ation for blue-col­lar work­ers as in­ter­net com­pa­nies com­pete against each other to gain mar­ket share. The cut in in­cen­tives is sim­i­lar to what hap­pened with ecom­merce com­pa­nies — es­pe­cially cab-hail­ing ma­jors Ola and Uber over the past few years as their driver-part­ners felt the pinch of their over­all in­comes go­ing down.

On av­er­age, de­liv­ery per­son­nel can earn Rs 25,000-30,000 per month, in­clud­ing petrol costs for the bike. This had more than dou­bled last year as com­pa­nies ag­gres­sively tried to hit high vol­umes of or­ders, which play a crit­i­cal role in rais­ing new cap­i­tal. Cur­rently, Zo­mato is in the mid­dle of rais­ing $400-500 mil­lion from new and ex­ist­ing in­vestors, and is said to be los­ing $40-50 mil­lion per month.

While Zo­mato told restau­rants in Mum­bai that it is pre­pared to man­age de­liv­ery vol­umes on time, restau­rant part­ners are not sure about the same. In­ci­den­tally, Zo­mato’s co-founder and CEO Deepin­der Goyal had tweeted on Septem­ber 5 that de­liv­ery part­ners’ monthly in­come has crossed Rs 200 crore for the first time and that it has 2,30,000 de­liv­ery part­ners in In­dia.

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