Here is an adapted reading comprehension passage from The Hindu 2023. This editorial passage is based on the news article “In a *gig economy, ‘lesser pay is better than no pay'”. The news article focused on Blinkit (formerly known as Grofers) workers who were striking against the implementation of a new and reduced earning system. However, with no income, minimal savings, and no alternative options, the workers resumed their jobs after only holding out for a week. Let’s explore the pros and cons of a gig economy through the following passage.
*A gig economy is a type of labour market where temporary, flexible jobs are common, and companies tend to hire independent contractors or freelancers instead of full-time employees. The term “gig” refers to the individual tasks or projects that these workers are hired to do, rather than working as a traditional employee. The gig economy has emerged with the rise of digital platforms, such as ride-sharing apps, food delivery services, and freelance job boards, that match workers with short-term or project-based work opportunities.
Editorial Unseen Passage 2023 – Lesser Pay is Better than No Pay
The gig economy has revolutionized the way we work, allowing for more flexibility and the opportunity to earn money on our own terms. However, it has also brought to light a number of challenges for those who work in this sector, particularly for delivery people working for food and grocery apps and other online selling platforms. The old adage “lesser pay is better than no pay” rings true for many of these workers who rely on this type of work to make ends meet.
The unpredictability of their work is perhaps the biggest challenge faced by delivery workers. They often have no idea how many orders they will receive in a given day or how much they will earn. This lack of stability can make it difficult to budget and plan for the future, leading to financial stress and uncertainty.
In addition to the unpredictable nature of the work, gig economy workers are often classified as independent contractors, which means they do not receive the same benefits and protections as traditional employees. This includes things like healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off. For many workers, this lack of benefits can be a significant obstacle to their financial stability and well-being.
Despite these challenges, many delivery workers continue to work in the gig economy because they need to support themselves and their families. The flexibility of the job allows them to work around other obligations, such as school or family responsibilities. However, this flexibility comes at a cost, and it is important that we recognize the sacrifices that these workers are making in order to make ends meet.
As a society, we need to do more to support the workers and ensure that they are treated fairly. This means advocating for policies that provide better protections and benefits for these workers, such as access to healthcare and retirement plans. It also means supporting businesses that prioritize fair pay and working conditions for their gig economy workers. Leaving positive reviews and feedback can help gig workers attract more clients and improve their earning potential.
The gig economy has the potential to offer many benefits to both workers and businesses, but it is important that we do not overlook the challenges faced by those who work in this sector. Lesser pay may be better than no pay, but it is not a sustainable or fair solution for those who are working hard to support themselves and their families. Let us work together to find ways to create a more just and equitable future for all workers in the gig economy.
1. What is the biggest challenge faced by delivery workers in the gig economy?
A. Lack of benefits
B. Unpredictable work
C. Low pay
D. Limited flexibility
Answer: B) Unpredictable work
2. Why do many delivery workers continue to work in the gig economy despite lesser pay?
A. To gain access to benefits
B. To have more stable work
C. To support themselves and their families
D. To have more flexibility in their schedules
Answer: C) To support themselves and their families
3. What is one benefit of working in the gig economy?
A. Access to healthcare
B. Retirement plans
C. Flexible work schedules
D. Paid time off
Answer: C) Flexible work schedules
4. What should society do to support gig economy workers?
A. Advocate for policies that provide better protections and benefits
B. Encourage workers to find traditional employment
C. Offer financial assistance to those who cannot make ends meet
D. Reduce the number of gig economy jobs available
Answer: A) Advocate for policies that provide better protections and benefits
5. What is the author’s opinion on the idea that “lesser pay is better than no pay”?
A. It is a sustainable solution for gig economy workers
B. It is an unsustainable solution for workers in the gig economy
C. It should be the motto of the gig economy
D. It is not a commonly held belief among gig economy workers
Answer: B) It is an unsustainable solution for workers in the gig economy
6. What does the word “unpredictability” mean in the context of the passage?
Answer: D) Uncertainty
7. What does the word “advocating” mean in the context of the passage?
Answer: B) Supporting
8. How do you think the unpredictability of gig economy work affects the mental health of delivery workers?
Answer: The unpredictability of gig economy work can cause significant stress and anxiety for delivery workers, as they never know how much money they will earn or how many orders they will receive. This can lead to financial uncertainty, which can in turn negatively impact their mental health and wellbeing.
9. Do you think that businesses should be required to provide benefits like healthcare and retirement plans to gig economy workers? Why or why not?
Answer: Yes, businesses should be required to provide benefits like healthcare and retirement plans to gig economy workers. While it is true that providing these benefits may increase costs for businesses, the benefits of doing so are clear. For example, offering benefits can help attract and retain top talent, improve worker productivity and job satisfaction, and reduce absenteeism and turnover.
10. Have you or anyone you know ever worked in the gig economy? If so, what challenges did you/they face? If not, do you think that you would ever consider working in the gig economy? Why or why not?
Answer: I have a friend who works as a delivery person for a food app. She faces a lot of challenges due to the unpredictable nature of her work, which makes it difficult for her to budget and plan for the future. She also doesn’t receive any benefits, such as healthcare or paid time off. Personally, I don’t think I would want to work in the gig economy because of these challenges and lack of stability.
Q 11. Providing perks to these contract-based workers can cause the operating costs of the businesses to rise. Can you suggest 2 practical ways to deal with it?
Answer: To make it financially viable for businesses to provide benefits, they could collaborate with gig platforms or governments to offer collective benefits. This would allow businesses to share the costs of providing benefits with other companies that hire gig workers, making it more affordable for everyone. Additionally, governments could establish portable benefits systems that allow gig workers to accrue benefits over time, regardless of which companies they work for.
*The term “gig worker” comes from the idea of a “gig”, which is a slang term for a musical performance or engagement. In the past, musicians would often take on short-term jobs or “gigs” to make a living.