During the pandemic, there was a sharp rise seen in food delivery services and community buildings imposing stringent measures to limit outside contact. This made it difficult for many delivery agents who work on a tight schedule trying to meet their delivery counts.
Thus, apart from the challenges they face in their profession, they have to accommodate the changing rules that every society building comes up with and often deal with discrimination as well. Allegedly, many residential buildings continue to follow a system that does not permit delivery agents to use the lift services that the residents use.
Shedding light on such a similar system, an officer tweeted an image of a notice posted outside an elevator banning delivery agents from taking the lift.
Discrimination Or Security Reasons?
A tweet posted by an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Awanish Sharan showed an undated notice outside a lift entrance stating, "Only residents are allowed to use the lift, and everyone else like delivery workers from Swiggy and Zomato should not use it".
While it is unclear from the image if it was a Covid pandemic policy that is still being continued, the comments section was filled with people stating that their buildings follow similar discriminatory practices against the gig workers. Such cases have also been reported from different parts of the country. Earlier this year, an incident was reported from a housing society in Hyderabad that fined house helps, drivers and delivery people if found to be using the main lift. The decision was received with a huge backlash by the building's residents and netizens, who called out the society's policies for being discriminatory.
Reactions To The Post
The tweet instantly garnered attention and received over 17,000 likes and thousands of retweets. It also sparked a debate in the comments section, with a good share of people justifying the practice, and the remaining calling it a classist act. A user commented that it was a common practice carried out to maintain cleanliness and ensure the safety of the residents. He also went on to state that separate lift services are established for delivery and e-commerce agents. On the same lines, multiple users supported the argument. They added that the owners adopt such measures as residents cannot be held liable for the electricity and maintenance costs that go into the lift's functioning.
Talking about other countries that have implemented similar measures, a Twitter user commented, "Brasil has such a system. It's good for security. Once the delivery person reaches, the security guard will intercom the person who ordered, and the person will collect it from the gate." While justifying the system, a user named Venkatesh also proposed a solution to it and said, "They're all doing logistics job..this is a part of their job.. However, the customer can be morally obliged to give some more tip for the extra effort...or they can use the lift instead to come down and get their stuff."
Pointing out that the image only provides part of the picture, a user explained that there could be the possibility of "S service lift meant for housekeeping staff and delivery boys. A blanket ban of non-residents in any of the lifts seems improbable." Responding to the separate service lift provisions, a user shed light on the conditions of it and commented, "Service lifts in most buildings are used for moving the garbage or heavy material like tiles, construction machinery etc. Mostly they are filthy. If dogs of residents can travel by the main lifts why the discrimination against workers? This is pure class divide, nothing else."
Furthermore, some comments emphasised patterns of blatant discrimination they noticed against the gig workers. A user named Ronak commented that many societies in Pune have such systems and even stated the example of a building where the resident pushed the milkman and delivery boys out of the lifts. Talking about the same, Kushagra commented that her society, which happens to be located in one of the posh localities, has the same rule and sometimes doesn't even allow delivery people to stand at ground level.
Since being shared, the post has received quite a reaction and has brought a very important discussion back to the table.
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