Home services provider Urban Company has approached the Gurugram district court seeking an injunction to stop a protest by the company’s workers at its headquarters against changes in its policy in the beauty category.
The court has summoned one of the protesting women on Wednesday morning.
Since December 20, around 50 women “partners” at home services provider Urban Company have been protesting at the company’s headquarters in Gurugram against changes in its policy in the beauty category. The protestors say that the changes are unfair and will impact their earnings.
Urban Company called the protests illegal and sought an injunction to make the demonstrators vacate the company’s premises.
In the suit, the company has demanded that the “partners” be barred from holding any “demonstration, dharna, rally, gherao, peace march, shouting slogans, entering or assembling on or near the office premises...”
Explaining the reasons for the protest, one of the women, who did not want to be named, said that one of their objections was to the “minimum guarantee plan”, according to which one has to take up a minimum number of jobs in a month. “If I am not able to [take up those many jobs], I will lose my upfront fee of Rs 3,000 [prime workers] or Rs 2,000 [classic workers], depending on what I pick,” she told Scroll.in. “This is a big problem for us. Why should we have to do a fixed number of jobs for the company when we are freelancing?”
She also added that while expenses were increasing, the company was looking for one way or another to reduce their income.
The protestors’ second concern is a new categorisation of workers called Flexi, which is meant for workers who refuse to participate in the minimum guarantee plan or have low response rates. Those in this category will not be given work from Monday to Thursday.
The third concern is a plan where the workers are being asked to provide discounts of up to 10% to customers. “A discount is an incentive to the customers that is to be given by the company, and the burden of the discount should not be placed on us,” Seema Singh, a member of Urban Company partners’ Delhi-NCR unit noted in a letter addressed to the company. “
The All India Gig Workers’ Union has put out a statement in support of the women. “There is an immediate need to classify gig workers as employees so that they may benefit from any legal infrastructure that would otherwise fail to protect them as a result of their employment status,” the union said.