Gig workers are being stabbed, kicked and harassed in India.

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“After covid [cab-hailing platforms] You have no management. They laid off many employees. There are not many employees to help [drivers on ground]. Who do we take these cases to? Matthew says so. “At least it was the relevant office before. [to address disputes]There is no relevant office now. Everything is online.

Ola did not respond to queries sent by WIRED.

According to Rathi from CIS, a responsive grievance mechanism for gig workers is “absolutely non-existent” and remains “one of the top three needs” of workers. “The companies can provide more responsive services to customers,” he said. “The workers are not many, but they are important. [than customers]And they should be able to extend the same practices, procedures and policies to employees.

Because the workers are often in dire economic conditions and have no jobs to fall back on, their ability to get arrested or assaulted has a major impact.

Some platforms offer limited insurance for gig workers, including for accidents. But these don’t necessarily mean much, says Aditi Suri, a senior consultant at India’s Human Settlements, a Bangalore-based research firm that has studied the plans. Her research shows that filing a claim against insurance provided by the platform is a long and tedious process. “So there are a lot of measures in place that prevent anyone from using any insurance or giving out on the platform if you have a serious injury,” Suri said. “So, if you have an accident on the road, for example, the police should intervene. Now finding the right police station, getting your insurance on time, getting an ambulance there – these are the things that the forums say they will try and help with but nothing – which again falls on the worker.

Tomar, an Uber spokesperson, said the company had provided Davey with financial assistance to cover her earnings as a result of the accident, and that the company “helped her claim her medical expenses under Uber’s travel insurance policy, which covers all drivers on the app.” She says the financial aid will not be deposited into her bank account.

“Uber is deeply committed to driver safety on the Uber app,” Tomar said. “Uber drivers have many of the same transparency and accountability features that drivers do, such as feedback and ratings for each ride, GPS tracking, an emergency button and a shared ride feature.”

In Delhi, Davi has found enough of Uber, she says, that it is neither safe nor profitable to justify the risks. Davi, who previously worked at a hospital for low wages, learned to drive so she could start working for Uber, and in 2019 she started driving a stagecoach. A single mother had to find work to support her two children. “At that time, many women around me told me that Uber was a good option and that the income was good,” she said. “At that time, even the High Commission was not reduced.”

She first complained to Uber in 2011. It was in 2020, when a customer verbally assaulted her. “He used to throw insults at me. I complained to the customer then, but Uber did nothing,” said Devi. When a driver complains, Uber does nothing. But even a small complaint against a driver means they will close their account.

Back then, she recalls spending 500 rupees ($6.08) a day on fuel, but taking home 2,000 rupees ($24.39) in earnings. But recently, she says, the fuel cost has gone up to Rs 700 a day, while her income has dropped below Rs 1,000.

Despite the life-threatening incident, Devi said the only calls she received from Uber were when she could resume driving, as she had been offline since January. She says, yelling, she hangs up those numbers. “I worry about my children—what if something like this happens again? So I have to think carefully before taking the next step,” she says. “For now, I have no intention of going back to driving for Uber.”

(Reporting for this story was sponsored by the Pulitzer Center’s AI Accountability Network.)

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