What’s the news: Gig workers in eight cities of India will join the global campaign against “unfair deactivation,” said the Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers (IFAT) union in a press release on January 11, 2023. The campaign to stop unfair deactivation was started earlier this month by the International Alliance of App-based Transport Workers (IAATW). It launched a global petition, as part of its year-long mobilization, to end sudden and unsubstantiated termination of driving privileges by multinationals. The workers called this practice the “single largest cause of precarity in the app-based transportation industry.” What is unfair deactivation? According to the Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union (TGPWU), every week companies like Ola, Uber, Swiggy, Zomato, etc, allegedly block driver IDs of around 25 to 30 drivers. Leaders in the press release said that most drivers do not know the reason for this blocking nor are they provided a portal/ platform to resolve the issue. In fact, the union said thousands of drivers in India and still more across the world experience such a deactivation on a daily basis without any understanding of the cause. This is so because most of the deactivation happens through algorithmic automation rather than a clearly stated cause. Deactivation, an excuse for unlawful firing: Biju Mathew, IAATW President and Executive Council member New York Taxi Workers Alliance, accused the companies of using the deactivation practice as a means of firing drivers. He said that a company must provide “Just Cause”, or the reason for firing,…
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