Zomato delivery workers oppose segregation

Food delivery company Zomato had announced on March 20, that it would introduce a “pure veg fleet”, which will deliver food from purely vegetarian restaurants only and will not deliver food from any restaurants that serve egg, fish, chicken or any sort of meat. This fleet would wear green and have green delivery boxes on their motorcycles, so that they could be told apart from the other delivery workers of the company, who wear red uniforms and have red delivery boxes.

_Delivery-‘partners.Zomato was widely criticised for this decision. So intense was the public criticism, including that on social media, and so firm the opposition from the Zomato delivery workers, that the company was forced to withdraw the decision the very same day. The CEO of the company publicly announced that there would be no segregation and that all delivery workers would continue to wear red and use red delivery boxes.

Zomato delivery workers opposed the decision, fearing that this would divide them on a caste and communal basis. They feared discrimination, insults and even physical attacks in the areas where they deliver food, on the basis of the colour of their dress.

The president of the Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers union (IFAT) criticised the move, as it would lead to delivery workers being categorised on the lines of caste, community and religion.

In a press statement issued on March 20, the Gig Workers Association (GIGWA), which includes Zomato delivery workers, expressed its firm opposition to the move, as it was likely to lead to discrimination among the workers on the basis of food preferences. It raised the question as to whether the workers would be divided on the basis of their own personal food choices. Further, it questioned whether the delivery workers for the “pure veg” fleet would be recruited from certain particular communities. The “colour coding” of delivery workers will make them “vulnerable to discrimination and even violence… Workers should not be judged unfairly just because of what they deliver”, the statement said.

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