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App-Based Platform Workers’ Federation Writes to Labour Ministry, Demands Universal Social Security

The memorandum demands guarantee workers’ data rights and transparent process for government's nomination of platform workers' representatives.

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App-Based Platform Workers’ Federation Writes to Labour Ministry, Demands Universal Social Security

Photo Credit: Chandan Khanna/ AFP

The submission seeks a “basic social protection floor” for all gig and platform workers

Highlights
  • IFAT has submitted the letter to the Ministry of Labour and Employment
  • It includes concerns over the Draft Code on Social Security Rules 2020
  • The unions demand for a fair mechanism to protect social security

The Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers (IFAT), along with an alliance of labour unions and civil society organisations concerned about the implications of the ongoing labour law reform process on platform and gig workers' rights, has made a joint submission to the Ministry of Labour and Employment over the ongoing public consultation on the Draft Code on Social Security (Central) Rules, 2020. The submission, dated December 21, demands for assuring a “basic social protection floor” for all gig and platform workers and protecting their data rights.

Signed by the federation alongside the All India Gig Workers Union, All India IT and ITeS Employees' Union, All India Railwaymens' Federation, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, and National Union of Seafarers of India, the memorandum underlines concerns regarding the implementation of platform workers' rights in the Draft Rules by the ministry. Civil society organisations including Gender at Work, IT for Change, Kamgar va Majur Sangh, Centre for Internet & Society, Partners in Change, and Tandem Research are also among its signatories.

The submission raises a demand for making social security universalised for all platform workers. It also seeks clarity on the criteria to determine exemption of aggregators from contributions to social security and asks for assuring workers' data rights.

Below are the key demands included in the submission made by the federation that represents thousands of workers connected with platforms including Swiggy, Zomato, Ola, and Uber, among others. You can also read the full submission on the Web.

  • All platform workers should have a basic social protection floor that will be irrespective of their age. The provisions in the Draft Rules currently impose an age limit for platform workers to be eligible for social security that are demanded to be removed, alongside other eligibility criteria. The Draft Rules should also clearly define that individuals working with platform aggregators should only be treated as a “platform worker” and not as an “agent” or “contractor”.
  • While the Draft Rules indicate that aggregators will have to contribute towards a government-framed social security scheme, further clarity should be provided on how these contributions will be assessed and what extent of social protection will be given in case platform workers are associated with several aggregators simultaneously.
  • The ministry should spell out the conditions under which aggregators can be exempted from contributing to platform workers' social security.
  • A transparent process should be prescribed for the government's nomination of platform workers' representatives, with effective representation from trade unions and workers' organisations. There should also be clarity on the constitution of the National Social Security Board for Gig Workers and Platform Workers.
  • Clear purpose of collecting workers' data should be provided, along with allowing them to have the right to edit, correct, and dispute the records of aggregators. A mechanism for an audit has also been suggested that must be established by the government. Further, the workers should have the right to retain a certified, machine-readable copy of their collected data.
  • Instead of going for a centralised database, the government should explore the possibility of a federated architecture, with space for democratic and decentralised data management by workers themselves with involvement from state and local government agencies.

Should the government explain why Chinese apps were banned? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips. More
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