Zomato’s Blinkit High-Speed Grocery Deliveries Halted by Wage Protests

Around 50 stores of Indian food delivery company Zomato’s grocery unit Blinkit are shut as bike riders have stopped work in the latest protest to hit India’s gig economy as employees push demands for better wages.

Zomato in an email said it had introduced a new structure for riders that compensates them based on their effort and was engaging with them to reopen the shut stores.

To take advantage of the trend for “quick commerce” that delivers goods within minutes to those in urgent need of supplies or just impulse shopping, Zomato last year bought Blinkit for $550 million (roughly Rs. 4,506 Crore).

Blinkit has around 400 stores in India, of which 50 were shut, mostly in and around New Delhi, on Friday, a source with direct knowledge said.

Videos on social media showed hundreds of Blinkit bike riders protesting and raising slogans against the introduction of a payment structure they say will reduce their per-order earnings. The Blinkit app on Friday showed several of its stores were “temporarily unavailable” in New Delhi.

“We are concerned because of this. No deliveries are happening,” Blinkit rider Ajay Kumar said.

At one Blinkit store in the Noida region near New Delhi, a security staff officer told Reuters no delivery riders had picked up orders since April 11 and the store was shut.

Blinkit competes with other big delivery firms, including top retailer Reliance-backed Dunzo, Tata’s BigBasket and SoftBank-backed Swiggy in India’s fast-growing grocery market.

Zomato’s other food delivery services continued normally.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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