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Urban Company dismisses staff allegations

After facing the ire of women workers, online gig marketplace Urban Company (UC) has clarified that the claims of very low commission to partners are baseless.

Urban Company dismisses staff allegations
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Urban Company dismisses staff allegations

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Bengaluru: After facing the ire of women workers, online gig marketplace Urban Company (UC) has clarified that the claims of very low commission to partners are baseless.

In a detailed blog, the unicorn startup said that the earnings were far more than the amount claimed by women beautician partners.

"One of the tweets recently claimed that a beauty partner made Rs 67 for 4 orders. This is a mis-representation of facts. The screenshot shown is not that of her earnings page, but a settlement ledger of the bank transfer," Urban Company said in a blog post.

Paytm founder and managing director Vijay Shekhar Sharma tweeted in support of UC's explanation of the complex cost structure associated with delivering low-cost services.

Over hundreds of working women protested outside the office of the unicorn start-up in Gurugram alleging abysmally low wages last week. Following the protest, a section of partners has gone on strike.

Apart from clarifying its stand on low commissions being paid to partners, UC has also promised to come up with incentive structures to increase earnings for its partner ecosystem.

"We are not perfect, and acknowledge that we might have made mistakes in our journey so far. In the coming weeks, we will be announcing some important programmes which we believe will further enhance earnings and wellbeing of our partner ecosystem. We will publish an update on this blogpost at the end of October with the revised data. Our estimates suggest that in the offline world, service professionals earn on average between Rs 12,000-15,000 per month," UC said in the blog post.

According to UC, partners on its platform earn a net average earnings of Rs 280-300 per hour, net of commissions, fee and associated costs, and that the top quartile of service partners earn up to Rs 36,000 per month net of all commissions, fees, travel and product costs.

It also said that the service partners on the platform have access to life and accidental insurance cover and UC had given Rs 10 crore worth of interest-free loans to beauty partners during the lockdown period in the last one & half year.

Urban Company is valued at $2.1 billion and has over 40,000 service professionals on its platform with a plan to add another 15,000 to meet growing demand.

As startup ecosystem grows in India with many more employees and partners coming to the fold, there were many instances of workers' protest against these app-based companies in recent past.

In August this year, Swiggy and Zomato had faced similar backlashes from partners with many of their delivery partners raising the issue of exploitation by these online food delivery platforms. Similarly, cab hailing aggregators Ola and Uber had seen protest from drivers on many occasions with alleged exploitative working environment and fee structure.

Debasis Mohapatra
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