Include access to washrooms, safeguards against customer misbehaviour in draft Bill, say women gig workers

The government is seeking suggestions on the draft Bill which is expected to be tabled in the upcoming monsoon session of the legislature

Published - July 10, 2024 09:55 pm IST - Bengaluru

Karnataka Gig and Platform Workers’ Convention was held in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Karnataka Gig and Platform Workers’ Convention was held in Bengaluru on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: File photo

As the Karnataka government readies the Karnataka Platform-based Gig Workers (Social Security and Welfare) Bill, women workers with ride-hailing apps and on-demand home services companies have highlighted the need to include provisions that take into account the female workforce.

Speaking at the Karnataka Gig and Platform Workers’ Convention held in Bengaluru on Wednesday, several women workers demanded that the Bill should include provisions ensuring access to public washroom facilities and safeguards against misbehaviour from customers.

“Often, women have to take care of things at home along with the work. If some emergency comes up and we decline a few gigs, the platforms block us,” said Manisha, who works with one of the on-demand home service companies.

No toilet access

Selvi, who works with the same company, noted that workers often do not get the time for food breaks, and are denied toilet access. On top of this, women workers who provide services at the homes of customers quite often face inappropriate behaviour from the latter. According to her, while the aggregators are quick to act on complaints from customers, most often they pay no heed to such grievances of female workers.

Prabhavati, who is a driver with a cab aggregator, pointed out that the lack of access to clean public washrooms is a huge problem for women drivers. 

Agreement with customers

Mamatha, All-India Unorganised Workers and Employees’ Congress national coordinator, said that as part of the feedback to the draft Bill, it has been suggested that the aggregators should insist on customers signing an agreement before being provided home services, as a check against misbehaviour towards workers. “This way the company also becomes responsible for the rights and safety of women workers,” she said.

At the event conducted to raise awareness among the gig workers of the State about the draft Bill, former Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Gowda, Additional Labour Commissioner Manjunath G., Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers national president Shaik Salauddin, Karnataka App-based Drivers Union head Mohammad Inayat Ali, and activists Nikhil Dey, Rakshita Swamy, and Chandan Kumar spoke.

Noting that the draft Bill is a result of 18 rounds of discussions over a year with trade unions, civil society organisations, gig workers, aggregators, and think tanks, Mr. Manjunath said the government was committed to ensuring the dignity of labour for gig workers.

Mr. Ali, who alleged that several attempts are being made to stall the Bill, told The Hindu on the sides of the event that the union would oppose all such efforts and hold protests if the Bill does not go through.

The government is currently seeking suggestions on the draft Bill published on June 29. The Bill is expected to be tabled in the upcoming monsoon session of the State legislature.   

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