‘No Muslim delivery boy’ row: Workers union calls Swiggy’s response ‘tokenistic’, invites for meet

Hyderabad: Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union on Sunday reacted to Swiggy’s response on the issue ‘no Muslim delivery boy’ request from a customer and called it ‘tokenistic’ of the food delivery app company.

The body also invited the company’s management for a bilateral meeting to discuss issues and help the company design algorithms and digital systems to ensure fairness and dignity for your partners.

In a Facebook post directed at Harsha Majety, the Co-Founder and CEO of Swiggy, the workers union welcomed the response given by Swiggy and also appreciated the response and solidarity made by general citizens which “showcases that India stands with Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb, Constitutional Ethos and Humanity.”

However, the worker’s body said that it found Swiggy’s response as nothing but a “tokenistic” reply. “We, therefore, request them to address the structural issues which have revealed themselves through this case of hate-mongering,” it said.

“We understand that Swiggy is truly a world-class company. This enables them to have advanced technology, by which they make millions of rupees every day. Our direct question is – If the assignment of a delivery worker is automated then how your algorithm has failed to filter such bigoted/discriminated requests? It clearly shows that Swiggy can’t provide an equal platform to its workers,” the post further asked.

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The post questioned whether the company’s management would take a decision to block customers like these and deactivate such IDs, a treatment they routinely carry out with its workers.

After outrage over a demand made by a Swiggy customer in Hyderabad, the company on Friday disclosed that the assignment of orders is entirely automated. The food delivery app also mentioned that attempts are being made to validate the authenticity of the screenshot.

It all started after the customer while placing an order on the delivery app mentioned, “Don’t want a Muslim delivery person”.

Later, Shaik Salauddin, national general secretary of the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers (IFAT) shared the screenshot of the instruction on social media.

He also wrote, “Dear @Swiggy please take a stand against such a bigoted request. We (Delivery workers) are here to deliver food to one and all, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh @Swiggy @TGPWU Mazhab Nahi Sikhata Aapas Mein Bair Rakhna”

Congress MP Karti P. Chidambaram supported Saluddin’s demand. “Platform companies cannot sit back and watch as gig workers face such blatant bigotry in the name of religion. What action will such companies take to safeguard the rights of gig workers?” he asked.

Prominent Hindu activist Rahul Easwar too requested Swiggy to blacklist the customer. He wrote that the customer is spreading hate against “our Muslim brothers”. He went on to add that such hate mongers demean India.

On Friday, TMC leader and Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra requested Swiggy to blacklist the customer. She also demanded that the name of the customer should be made public and a police complaint must be filed against the person.

Responding to her demand, Swiggy wrote, “Hey Mohua, as an equal opportunity platform, there is no place for discrimination in Swiggy’s delivery universe. The assignment of orders is entirely automated and does not take any such requests into consideration. We’ve been attempting to validate the authenticity and recency of the screenshot to get more information since the incident was first reported a few days ago”.

This is not the first time that such a request has been made by a customer on food delivery apps. In June, a man in Madhya Pradesh cancelled an order from Zomato saying his request to change a non-Hindu rider was not accepted.