Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal has moved to clarify reports of recent worker agitation in West Bengal. In an email sent to Zomato employees, Goyal noted that a handful of Zomato delivery partners in Howrah had indeed protested, but that it was primarily related to recent rate card revisions, and not being forced to deliver beef and pork as it was being made out to be. This issue, according to him, was added to the list of problems after consultation with a local Howrah politician. Goyal also claimed that upon checking, no Zomato orders containing beef or pork had been delivered to Howrah homes in the past three months.
In a letter to employees, Goyal explained the events behind the controversy. He said the agitation had “nothing to do with food or religion or beliefs,” decrying the “false outrage” surrounding the “meaningful work and livelihood opportunities.”
“This ‘protest’, confined to a handful of delivery partners, is limited to the Howrah area of Kolkata and not across West Bengal, as some wildly exaggerated reports make it out to be. The issue was primarily related to a recent rate card correction in that area, something which we routinely do,” Goyal said.
“Our delivery partners keep earning the same amount of money after the rate card correction, and our unit economics become better, making the business more sustainable. This allows us to expand and continue to create more employment opportunities for more delivery partners… Occasionally, a handful of delivery riders don’t understand the rate card corrections and start protesting against the change. In this case in Howrah, instead of constructive engagement with their local Zomato execs, these riders approached a local politician and deliberately framed the issue incorrectly,” he added.
The Zomato founder in his letter detailed why the stance of forced beef and pork deliveries being adopted by the protesters is false, “We know this because we took a look in our order database and there were zero orders from local homes for any item containing pork in the last three months in that entire area. There was one order of a food item containing beef but the customer cancelled that order before it was executed, let alone delivered.”