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TMC ministers back stir by Zomato staff protest over beef, pork delivery, pay

In a country as diverse as India, food delivery partners are finding it difficult to stay away from controversies.

Updated: Aug 12, 2019, 10.46 AM IST
Delivery partners are unequivocally made to understand the practical nature of the job.
(This story originally appeared in on Aug 12, 2019)
HOWRAH: Zomato is in the eye of a storm again after a weeklong protest by a few hundred delivery executives of Zomato in north Howrah, demanding a pay revision and the right to refuse delivery of pork and beef packets, received unstinted support of two Trinamool ministers from Howrah on Sunday.

Arup Roy and Rajib Banerjee, TMC ministers from Howrah, have come out strongly in support of the protesters.

“We extend our support to them. No one should infringe on anyone’s religious beliefs,” Roy said. Banerjee made a similar comment: “No one has a right to force anyone to do anything against their religious beliefs. We will take up the issue with appropriate authorities.”

A protest that began for pay revision, with protesting delivery executives claiming that a delivery trip that fetched them Rs 80 was revised to Rs 25 a trip, soon assumed religious tones with the Hindu and Muslim delivery executives raising their voice for being made to deliver beef, or pork, respectively.

“Why should we be forced to deliver beef against our wishes? We have been protesting against this for the past week,” Sujit Kumar Gupta, a delivery executive of Zomato, said.

Mohsin Akhtar, another delivery executive of Zomato and part of the protesters, said: “Serving pork is against our religious beliefs. We should have a say in what food we carry if it is against our religion.”

Akhtar said nearly 200 delivery executives in north Howrah were participating in the protests. Protesters said they were also trying to dissuade their colleagues in Kolkata and south Howrah from picking up delivery orders to north Howrah.

When TOI got it touch with Zomato, its spokesman wrote back: “In a country as diverse as India, it is impossible to ensure that vegetarian and non-vegetarian preferences are factored into delivery logistics. Delivery partners are unequivocally made to understand the practical nature of the job as they choose to enter the workforce. All our partners understand this fully. There is a small group of partners in Howrah who have raised concerns and we are looking to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

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