App-based delivery employees want to be termed ‘unorganised’, avail of social security benefits
Legal Correspondent The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to respond to a petition filed by a body representing app-based delivery persons seeking statutory benefits, social security rights, and recognition as “unorganised workers” for them.
A bench led by Justice L Nageswara Rao issued notice on a petition filed by the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers (IFAT), which represents ‘gig-workers’ by online food and taxi applications such as Zomato, Swiggy, Ola, Uber, etc.
“We seek a declaration that the drivers or delivery workers are actually workmen in the classical sense of the word. Worldwide for Uber, they have been considered as workers,” senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the IFAT, submitted.
UK court ruling
Jaising referred to how the UK Supreme Court had concluded that the relationship between the online app and these workers were that of employer-employee.
These workers were eligible for social security under the existing laws.
“See the Unorganised Workmen Act. If you see the definition of an unorganised worker,” she submitted.
“Failure of the State to register them as ‘unorganised workers’ or to provide them social security under the existing law is violation of their rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the IFAT petition said, while also arguing that their unequal work conditions breached the “right to decent and fair conditions of work”.
Social Security Code
During the hearing, the bench referred to the Social Security Code of 2020 that delves into rights and benefits for ‘gig or platform workers’. The Social Security Code, 2020, brings unorganised sector, gig workers, and platform workers under the ambit of social security schemes, including for their insurance and health.
The Apex court has asked the Central governemnt to respond to IFAT’s petition in four weeks’ time.