On the Picket Line

Amazon India delivery workers strike over payments, benefits

By Roy Landersen
April 19, 2021

Over 8,000 Amazon workers at 20 delivery hubs in Delhi and Pune, India, stopped work March 16, a day after the bosses at the giant e-commerce company slashed pay for parcel deliveries. The drivers, mainly hired through subcontracting firms, are demanding the restoration of the regular rates for delivery plus health insurance benefits.

After this, the main drivers union, the Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers, called for a national 24-hour strike. Some drivers at Amazon India went out in Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune at the end of March.

A union statement explained that the rates for drivers of three-wheeled autorickshaws were cut from 35 Indian rupees (48 cents) per delivery to 10 for delivering smaller packages. Delivery van drivers’ higher rates were also cut.

Amazon delivery staff had been making around 20,000 rupees a month before the national pandemic lockdown last year, the drivers union said. The earnings of most of the workers have now been halved by the bosses.

“We are getting less money after working more,” a striking driver told the media at the March 16 action in Pune.

Organizing efforts and labor actions are growing with Amazon bosses’ attacks on wages and working conditions in the U.S. and around the world. Some 2,000 workers at six of the company’s sites in Germany, including Werne, Leipzig and Koblenz, started a four-day strike March 29 over deteriorating working conditions. A national strike by some 40,000 Amazon workers in Italy took place the week before.