Recently, a Fairwork India Ratings Survey providing points for companies offering digitally mediated work threw up some uncomfortable facts. “Many of the well known unicorn services we utilize on a daily basis had severely poor ratings and this was disheartening to see in the entrepreneurship culture which is supposed to adhere to basic conditions to make the lives of employees and contractors easier, said Pincap MD Praveen Sinha.” Whilst CEOs have since gone public and vowed to take action, a lot of work needs to be done to address the current scenario for the better.
Steps to promote better working conditions:
“Having been a part of the industry for more than a decade, I sympathise and understand the pain points of employees/contractors who are working on the premise of shorter payday cycles. Some of them are being exploited a lot and sometimes the parent company has absolutely no idea because it is the subcontractors who deal with them on a daily basis. We saw a recent example of this at an Apple plant in Bengaluru, where the company faced crores of damages after infuriated workers resorted to vandalism following poor wage disbursement, highlighted Sinha,” highlights Pincap MD Praveen Sinha.
Some remedial measures that can be taken –
- Guarantee performance based minimum wage – It is abysmal to see that the report brought to light that some workers were not even earning minimum wage approved by the authorities. If across the organisation there is salary cut for survival during tough times its understandable. However, this cannot fly when top executives are making more than they need.
- Lack of insurance and awareness – The report also highlighted that either insurance wasn’t provided or the workers didn’t know how to claim them. This needs to be addressed because these men are always at a threat of an accident and they need some form of security. This I think should be must. It can also be developed as across network insurance or Government scheme for Blue collar jobs.
- Platforms unwilling to engage with worker bodies: Platforms seem to be evading accountability and not dealing with these workers directly causing a lot of frustration and agony to the ones who are literally driving the businesses. There should be active dialogue and transparency. Generally absence of accountability makes the regulators take stand for its deemed employment which actually kills the business model. Hence in long term from business viability perspective as well it should be enabled.
- Contractors engaging with workers need to be brought to task: Exploitation on behalf of a platform can risk its brand image in today’s societal systems. Companies need to engage with 3rd party contractors providing workers and ensure that they are being treated fair and square.
- Improve awareness and offer proper redressal mechanisms – Every worker should have a voice in a company and deserves to be heard. Workers doing the heavy lifting for internet platforms don’t always have these rights and can be exploited to unacceptable degrees. This needs to change and each worker should have the ability to voice their concerns and seek redressals.
“I consider it a healthy process that companies are being held accountable for practices that do not have a place in the 21st century society and the voiceless are finding a voice through media and social media. It is at the same time heartening to see companies own up to their mistakes publicly and promise to make things better. This makes me optimistic that the policies and practices will be fairer and promote better working conditions in the coming years.”🔥13