Urban Company Drags Gig Workers to Court for Protesting New Policy Changes
As per the workers, the protest came about as a result of the management refusing to hear their concerns on Monday.
The Quint DAILY
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In a first, Indian tech home services platform Urban Company has sought directives from the court against its own gig workers for protesting the company's newly introduced policy changes, which the workers claim will adversely effect their earnings and working hours.
Over 50 women ‘partners’ from the company’s beauty wing have been demonstrating outside the company’s office, main entrance and parking lot in Gurugram since the morning of Monday, 20 December, The Indian Express reported.
While they camped outside through the night in freezing temperatures, the company reportedly shut access to toilets and did not let them inside the premises.
On Tuesday, the company filed a lawsuit against the protestors' 'illegal' actions, requesting the court's intervention in breaking off the strike.
As per the workers, the protest came about as a consequence of the management refusing to hear their concerns on Monday.
The suit, filed by UrbanClap Technologies seeks a permanent prohibitory order restraining the workers from holding any “demonstration, dharna, rally, gherao, peace march, shouting slogans, entering or assembling on or near the office premises," the report quoted.
What Are the 'Partners' Saying?
Seema Singh, who has been associated with the firm for the past four years and mentioned in the suit, stated that the company is implementing a new subscription model, under which, the workers will need to pay Rs 3,000 (for prime) and Rs 2,000 (for classic) per month under a ‘minimum guarantee plan’, Hindustan Times reported.
"Why should we be forced to pay money to the company to get work. We closed our salons and shops to work flexibly and now we are being asked to pay for getting the same work," Singh was quoted by the daily as saying.
Another beautician, as quoted by The Indian Express expressed, "The plan requires us to plan our monthly work calendar and take a minimum number of jobs. So, if I don’t do 40 jobs, I will lose Rs 3,000."
She added that while the company refuses to provide the gig workers 'employee benefits', relegating them as 'freelancers', the subscription loots them of their flexibility.
The firm had also come under fire in October this year, when over 100 of their 'partners' had alleged exploitative practices in the workplace and demanded safer working conditions, better pay and social security benefits.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and Hindustan Times.)
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