Instacart users are being told by the Gig Workers Collective, which represents a body of around 13,000 Instacart shoppers, to delete the app until working conditions improve.
The collective has asked users to not redownload the app until five specific demands have been met.
These include: workers to be paid by individual order instead of batches of orders, to re-introduce item-based commissions, to provide occupational death benefits, ensure the rating system doesn’t punish shoppers for issues beyond their control and to make the default tip at least 10 per cent up from 5 per cent.
“We’re deeply committed to creating the best possible experience for our shopper community,” Instacart told TechCrunch.
“Over the past several years, this unwavering commitment has led us to introduce new features, policies, offerings, and support for shoppers, significantly improving the shopper experience and resulting in the highest shopper sentiment in company history.”
Instacart hires 500,000 independent contractors, which they call “shoppers,” up from 200,000 pre-pandemic.
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“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve invested in countless new measures to support the health and safety of the shopper community,” Instacart added.
“We take shopper feedback very seriously and remain committed to listening to and using that feedback to improve their experience.”
Instacart admitted that its payment structure has not changed since February 2019, where it faced a class-action lawsuit over its practice of subsidising wages with tips.
The online grocer had previously put in place a $10 earning minimum per order, however on smaller orders than totalled less than $10, customer tips would subsidise the rest of the cost.
So if a customer ordered $7 worth of food and tipped the shopper $4 dollars, the shopper would receive $11 instead of $14.
The company’s founder and former chief executive Apoorva Mehta apologised to the company’s shoppers and confirmed that tips should be separate from employee compensation.