Social security: SC requests government response on coverage for concert workers
Social security: SC requests government response on coverage for concert workers

Social security: SC requests government response on coverage for concert workers

Only a tenth of the country’s estimated 50 crore working population now comes under some form of social security.

The Supreme Court on Monday requested a response from the center on a PIL seeking social security services for ‘gig workers’ employed by online food delivery apps like Zomato and Swiggy, taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber and courier services.

A bench led by Justice LN Rao issued a statement to the Union’s Ministries of Trade and Industry, Food and Public Distribution, Electronics and others on the PIL of the Indian Federation of App Based Transport Workers (IFAT) requesting cash transfers of Rs 1,175 per tonne. day for app-based drivers and Rs 675 per day for others until 31 December or until the pandemic disappears. In addition, the petition seeks a declaration that all app-based workers must be recognized as disorganized workers under the Unorganized Workers’ Social Welfare Security Act, 2008. IFAT also wants health insurance, pensions, disability benefits and maternity benefits for all concert staff.

The Supreme Court sent the case for further hearing in January.

As FE reported earlier, the government is working on a plan to bring 38 crore disorganized sector workers under the social security network, as part of its plan to extend old-age pensions, health insurance, disability benefits and a host of other social security benefits to all sections, including concerts, platforms and migrant workers under the recently adopted Social Security Code.

Only a tenth of the country’s estimated 50 crore working population now comes under some form of social security.

Nearly 11 crore unorganized sector workers have so far registered themselves on the e-Shram portal, which aims to create a comprehensive database of such workers and facilitate the delivery of various welfare programs and rights intended for them.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, representing IFAT, argued that these workers are currently being denied the benefit of social security under any of the labor laws of organized or unorganized sectors. She argued that the drivers or delivery workers are in fact artisans in the classical sense of the word.

“Denial of social security to the ‘gig workers’ and’ platform workers’ is a violation of the workers’ right to life and the right to forced labor, ensured by Articles 14, 21 and 23 of the Constitution,” PIL stated, adding that the absence of social security hits concert workers even harder at reducing commissions.

Claiming that Uber, Ola, Swiggy and Zomato give their workers contracts of the “take it or leave it” nature, PIL argued that rising daily delivery targets often deny a delivery bonus to concertgoers, leaving an opportunity or time to work with another delivery app side by side. Technically, a concert employee who is engaged in one company can also work with another company, as none of the contracts bind him / her, according to IFAT.

IFAT also claimed that commissions for app-based delivery staff have dropped from around Rs 50 per delivery to Rs 20 per delivery, with an equally gruesome picture for taxi drivers. It has also questioned the revised daily goals for concert workers, which claims are virtually impossible for riders to claim daily bonuses of Rs 500 or more.

The petition stated that “the companies have claimed that there is no employment contract and their relationship with such workers is in the nature of a partnership. If such a claim were accepted, this would be contrary to the purpose of social legislation ….”

It further claimed that the companies that own the apps exercise complete supervision and control over the manner and method of working with those who are authorized to register on the said apps. PIL said that concert workers are still outside the scope of the Contract Labor (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 and The Employment Compensation Act 1923.

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