#NewsBytesExclusive: How Myntra and Amazon's deliverymen are dealing with coronavirus
The coronavirus-induced lockdown and the battered economy spelled doom for e-commerce giants in the last two months. With little to no deliveries, they generated far less revenue, and the restrictions left hundreds of deliverymen in the lurch. Though limited deliveries have now started, things are not the same. We spoke to some deliverymen, employed with Myntra and Amazon, to understand how COVID-19 affected them.
29-year-old Ramesh (name changed to protect identity), who has been working with Myntra for one year, said the first two phases of lockdown were traumatic. Before coronavirus hit us, he easily made Rs. 20,000 per month, besides the incentives. But during the lockdown, Ramesh, the eldest earning member of his family of six, wasn't paid wages and depended on village earnings to get by.
The 29-year-old said he and some of his colleagues requested Myntra to pay them salaries, but the plea wasn't entertained. The company gave Rs. 2,000 instead, but with a condition that it would be deducted in tranches in the coming months. Facing the heat of the restrictions, Ramesh took a sigh of relief when curbs were eased in the third phase of lockdown.
The federal government permitted deliveries of non-essential items in green and orange zones in Lockdown 3.0. For Ramesh and many like him, it was a boon. "But before I got back to work, Myntra explained all the rules. We were asked to maintain six feet distance from customers, sanitize hands after every delivery, and always wear masks and gloves," he told NewsBytes.
Aware of the health crisis, Ramesh isn't leaving anything to chance. He said he worries he might get infected, despite following all the guidelines. Hence, he doesn't enter his home before disinfecting everything. "I sanitize everything, including my bike, then take a bath and drink warm water. I don't want to take any risks," Ramesh, a native of Uttar Pradesh, added.
Speaking about his day, Ramesh pointed towards the recent change in people's behavior. "Since I maintain a distance from customers, they assume I am infected," he lamented. "We follow our rules. Myntra taught us that we shouldn't touch returned packets but ask customers to keep it inside a bag. However, that rarely happens. Customers throw it in our faces and leave," he said.
"We have told Myntra about the problems we face daily, but nothing has been done. They put customers on a pedestal. The only positive aspect is that the company got us medically insured and is paying the premiums too," he went on.
Just like Ramesh, Anuj (name changed to protect identity), who picks up products for Amazon, fears getting infected too. Originally from Bulandshar, Anuj said his job doesn't make him happy anymore. He commutes daily from his hometown to Amazon's office in Baghel, spending almost an hour on his bike in the scorching sun, as he doesn't want to stay alone during these taxing times.
Anuj earns Rs. 14,000 per month, barring the incentives, and revealed that Amazon gave 50% salary for the last two months. Earlier, he picked up 30-35 items daily but it has been reduced to 20-25 since the restrictions started. When asked if he feared losing his job due to recession, Anuj answered in the negative. Unlike Ramesh, Anuj doesn't have company-sponsored health insurance.
The 25-year-old said he left for his hometown on March 22, days before the first lockdown was enforced because he had a day off. He could return only on May 22. "We were told extensively about precautions. Amazon gave us masks, sanitizers, and gloves, while asking to maintain at least 2 meter distance from customers. We were told not to touch packets," he added.
Anuj, thankfully, hasn't encountered any rude customers. But he spends every day in fear. That's not the worst part, though. A teary-eyed Anuj said he doesn't know what to do upon getting infected. "All I know is that I have to always wear a mask. I have been working with Amazon for the past four years but have never felt this dejected," he said.