Bikers have stopped working in the latest protest to rock India’s gig economy as workers push demands for greater salaries, forcing the closure of about 50 stores of the grocery division of Indian meal delivery giant Zomato, Blinkit. In an email, Zomato claimed to have changed the way riders are paid depending on their performance and that it was working with them to restore closed stores.
Zomato last year acquired Blinkit for $550 million in order to capitalize on the trend for “quick commerce,” which delivers things within minutes to customers who are in urgent need of supplies or are simply making impulse purchases.
According to a source with firsthand information, Blinkit has about 400 locations in India, 50 of which were closed on Friday, primarily in and around New Delhi.
Hundreds of Blinkit bike riders were seen on social media videos chanting and holding signs in protest of the introduction of a payment structure that they claim will lower their per-order profits. On Friday, the Blinkit app indicated that a number of its stores in New Delhi were “temporarily unavailable”.
“We are concerned because of this. No deliveries are happening,” Blinkit rider Ajay Kumar said.
A security guard at one Blinkit location in the Noida neighborhood close to New Delhi told Reuters that since April 11 no delivery drivers had picked up orders and the location was closed.
In India’s rapidly expanding grocery sector, Blinkit faces competition from other significant delivery companies including top retailer Reliance-backed Dunzo, Tata’s BigBasket, and SoftBank-backed Swiggy.
The other food delivery services offered by Zomato continued as usual.
(Adapted from ThePrint.in)