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Hyderabad: Gig workers demand Covid-19 cover from App- based companies

Gig workers demand Covid-19 cover from App- based companies
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Gig workers demand Covid-19 cover from App- based companies

Highlights

  • App-based workers urge companies like Uber, Ola, Swiggy and Zomato to compensate for Covid infection kin of taxi drivers who died due to virus
  • Taxi drivers providing transportation services to Covid patients

Hyderabad: The app-based workers have been one among the front during the Coronavirus pandemic as they are delivering all essentials and providing transport service during these difficult times of pandemic.

Now as the vicious second wave that spikes unabated, these taxi drivers, delivery boys, and rider communities are experiencing devastating impact. According to the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Telangana State Taxi and Drivers Joint Action Committee, till now a total of 497 taxi drivers, 301 delivery boys have been infected with Covid-19 and five workers succumbed due to it.

Md Mustafa Hussain (52) resident of Amberpet, a taxi driver working with Ola, died on April 21 while undergoing treatment for Covid-19 in a government hospital in Gachibowli. Mustafa left responsibility of four daughters on his wife. The family lives in a rented house and is unable to able to bear the expenses, as even fulfilling their basic amenity of food, shelter, and clothing has become challenging.

"While my husband was tested for Covid-19, he was isolated at home but slowly his condition started getting bad, immediately shifted to a private hospital where we spent around two lakh rupees and as we were unable to bear the private hospital's bills, we then shifted him to the government hospital, where he died just in two days," says Mustafa's wife.

She further said, "My husband worked as a taxi driver in Ola company for over five years, while he was going through tough times the company didn't provide any financial support, though my husband had the insurance given by the company the hospitals denied accepting the insurance allotted by the Ola company, as insurance card is in my husband's phone when I showed it to the hospital management they refused to accept it saying it is not valid and not applicable."

She is not the only one there are four drivers and delivery boys, who died because of Covid. Rajeshwar Rao, who was working for food delivery application Zomato, died due to Covid. Rao was the only bread earner for the family of six.

Several other app-based workers are being called as frontline workers as they are offering service during a pandemic and night curfew hours but when they are infected no support is being provided by companies.

The Telangana State Taxi and Drivers Joint Action Committee (JAC) – an umbrella body comprising 20 gig and platform workers' unions has a membership of over 35,000 drivers across the state. The JAC demanded the cab service companies resolve the demands at the earliest. The association wants the companies to provide health insurance cards, approved by the State and central government.

The JAC told that cab drivers are receiving more Covid-19 patients as passengers, they had to provide service as they do not have any other option. Most of the drivers only receive bookings from Covid patients.

Around 301 taxi drivers and 497 delivery workers and 5 workers died due to Covid-19. The drivers and delivery boys Joint Action Committee demanding their companies to provide Covid compensation to them.

Shaik Salauddin, Chairman of the JAC and State President of Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union, said, "It is in this grave situation that we are raising our long-pending demands before the companies. The food-delivery and taxi companies such as Ola and Uber claim that they are providing health insurance to its workers but practically not even a single worker is getting benefited from the insurance."

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