Blinkit, a Zomato-owned rapid commerce business, has informed delivery employees on strike protesting wage cuts that several of its Gurugram dark shops would be permanently closed.
“Dear Blinkit partner, We thank you for providing your services to customers from your store. You all have not been working at the store for the past 3-4 days, and work has not started despite a lot of talks. That’s why the company is having to shut down this store forever,” the message on the partner app said in a mix of Hindi and English.
“Since this store is being shuttered permanently, we are disabling all of your IDs. For any issue, you can raise a ticket on support,” it added.
BusinessHeadline has seen two screenshots of such messages for the Sector 43 ES32 and South City 1 ES30 stores in Gurugram. Some delivery employees said that additional similar establishments were permanently closed, we were unable to determine the actual number.
According to a union representative, just a few of the 31 dark establishments that cater to Blinkit in Gurugram are now functioning, with security from local police and bouncers provided by the firm.
Unlike meal delivery, where delivery executives may have to collect orders from various restaurants spread throughout a metropolis, the fast commerce model is based on gig workers being allocated to a particular dark shop in a neighbourhood from where deliveries are performed.
Since last week, over 2,500 Blinkit delivery employees in Gurugram have gone on strike after the firm decreased the fixed payments per delivery from Rs 25 to Rs 15. In response to this decision, more employees are striking in Delhi and Noida.
According to an industry official, the hyperlocal delivery sector’s strategy is to reduce the delivery rates paid to riders if the number of orders in a certain region increases. The corporations make an educated guess that a delivery worker in a major city would earn roughly Rs 15,000 per month. This computation is based on the assumption that the gig worker is online for 10–12 hours per day, 26–27 days per month.
“As the number of deliveries per worker per hour increases as the platforms’ total orders in an area grow,” an industry official said.
Meanwhile, according to a person close to the situation, Blinkit will ultimately send out the new rate cards to all of the dark retailers in each location where it operates.
According to many delivery employees, Blinkit used to pay Rs 50 per order to its early batch of delivery workers last year and Rs 25 per order to those who joined a few months ago. Aside from per-order rewards, there were also fuel and delivery volume-based incentives, which might reach Rs 1,400 per week in extreme situations. The employees who are demonstrating are also upset because these incentives have been progressively phased out.
According to the company’s BSE filings, Blinkit fulfilled 3.2 crore orders in the December quarter, earning Rs 301 crore in sales but incurring an adjusted EBITDA loss of Rs 227 crore.
In June of last year, meal delivery giant Zomato purchased the company, then known as Grofers, for Rs 4,447 crore.