Food delivery staff of Zomato on Sunday went on an indefinite strike in West Bengal's Howrah, a report claimed, alleging they were made to deliver beef and pork dishes against their will. Separately, another report claimed some delivery partners in Kolkata said they will go on strike from Monday as they are not willing to deliver pork and beef to customers, while the company said it is trying to resolve the issue.
"We are on strike due to our payment rates and we have to deliver beef food items which is against our religious sentiments. We are not going to do it," one of the Howrah protesters said to IANS. There are many other delivery persons who are also opposed to delivering pork items, IANS reported. Their main allegation is that the company is not listening to them or paying heed to their religious beliefs.
Separately, PTI reported the intention of some Zomato delivery staff to strike in Kolkata from Monday.
Amid slogans "Zomato ki dadagiri nahi chalegi" raised by protestors, one of the protestors told ANI that the company is not paying heed to their grievances and is forcing to deliver beef and pork against their will.
"The company is not listening to our demands and forcing us to deliver beef and pork against our will. Hindus have a problem is delivering beef while Muslims do not want to deliver pork. Our Hindu friends are having a problem in delivering beef and they are denying doing so. It's been heard that in few days we have to deliver Pork, which we have also refused to do. We are not ready to deliver such things on any condition. We are forced to deliver such things. The company has also rolled back our payout. We have been on strike for a week now," Howrah protestor Mausin Akhtar told ANI.
"They (company) is playing with our religious sentiments. The company is also threatening us. The company asks us to deliver any kind of order to the customer. We, the Hindus, were asked to deliver beef while in coming days our Muslims brothers will be asked to deliver pork. This is not acceptable. We demand company not to play with our religious sentiments and also payouts should also be revised," another employee told ANI.
State Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee has backed the protesters, IANS reported. "I strongly oppose the management's decision as hurting people's religious sentiments is unacceptable. I fully support their protest as the management should agree with them, otherwise, there can be a big problem," Banerjee told IANS.
"The organisation should not force any person to go against their religion. It is wrong. Now that I have received information in this regard, I will look into it the matter," Banerjee told ANI.
The minister said he has made it very clear that the delivery executives will get his full support. He assured that he will look into the matter and take required steps.
Zomato, in a statement, said "a small group of partners" have raised concerns and it was looking to resolve the issue.
"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," a company spokesperson said.
Written with agency inputs