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Women partners protest on streets, Urban Company says "not perfect, acknowledge mistakes made"

Taking cognizance of the demands- better wages, lowering of commissions rates and safe working conditions- of the protesting women, IFAT has asked the government to take notice of their issues.

October 10, 2021 / 10:32 PM IST
Representative Image

Representative Image


Urban Company has said they will be releasing some important programs which will further enhance the earnings and well-being of the partner ecosystem after protests by women workers in Gurugram.

The company in a blog post has also claimed that on an average their partners earn Rs 280–300 per hour, net of commissions and all associated product and travel costs with the top quartile of service partners taking home Rs 36,000 per month.

"Under no circumstances, will we ever shy away from doing the right thing for our stakeholders. This has always been reflected in our business decisions and strategy. We are not perfect, and acknowledge that we might have made mistakes in our journey so far. In the coming weeks, we will be announcing some important programs which we believe will further enhance the earnings and well-being of our partner ecosystem", read the company's blog post.

Women workers employed with Urban Company have been trying to negotiate their demands-better wages, lowering of commissions rates and safe working conditions- for the last three months, but there has been no acceptable outcome. Hence they took out protests in Gurugram, against the company's exploitative and unfair practices.

Indian Federation of App-based Transport workers (IFAT) also extended its support to the workers. "IFAT condemns the disrespectful behaviour of the Urban Company threatening the women workers who are protesting against their unfair and unethical business practices," said the federation.

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Taking cognizance of the demands, IFAT has asked the government to take notice of their issues. They also said the problems raised by the women are not just limited to Urban Company but are persistent with all app-based companies' part of the gig and platform economy.

"IFAT will support the women workers in all the cities of India with its affiliate unions to help the women workers. Health, Hygiene and Safety are the issues that women workers have raised on various platforms", said Shaik Salauddin, National General Secretary, IFAT.

The workers are demanding the commission rates claimed by Urban Company from each job be capped at 20 percent. They also wish for an allowance of five emergency cancellations that will not hold a penalty and a stop to the TDS deductions that are being done on their pay.

"TDS deductions should stop, and refund should be issued immediately. The records of TDS deducted from the UC partners should be provided to them. The discounts and offers for the customers should not be deducted from our earnings. If the company wants to give a 20% discount to the customer, 10% should not be deducted from our earnings," read their demands.

Below mentioned is the detailed list of demands that the workers are fighting for-

  • There should be no automated deduction from the workers' earnings for the restocking of Urban Company products. They should have the choice to refill their stock whenever required. An explanation should be provided for all the earlier deductions and a refund should be provided for the extra amount that has been deducted to date.

  • The price of the Urban Company products that the UC partners have to buy needs to be reduced.

  • The number of categories for the customers should be reduced, simplified for 'Beauty' and 'Spa' categories. The further customer classification of 'Classic', 'Prime' and 'Luxury' should be removed.

  • The discounts and offers for the customers should not be deducted from the workers' earnings.

  • Retraining of only 1 day should be scheduled if there are 3 complaints against a UC partner in a month. Their IDs should not be blocked, and the complaints should be discussed with the UC partner to ensure in future such issues don’t arise again. Low ratings also should not be the reason for blocking IDs, the reasons for low ratings should be discussed with the UC partner and then resolved.

  • The UC partner should also have the option of rating the customer and the job, the details of the job and the option to rate should be available on record on the app for at least a week.

  • The workers also wish for an upgrade to the grievance redressal system for UC partners and quality health and term insurance. The workers tend to face a lot of health issues due to the long hours and the heavy load they have to carry.

  • There should also be no additional charges for rejoining, UC partners who had to take a break due to personal reasons (marriage, childbirth, relocation etc.)
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