Chennai, TAMIL NADU— Two months ago S polished marble floors in Chennai’s five-star hotels for a monthly wage of Rs 15,000. Now he has a temperature gun pointed at his forehead each time he arrives at a restaurant to pick up an order in the city.
S, a delivery partner for Swiggy, had been on the job for 96 hours at the time of this interview and his body temperature averaged 97F. On a Friday afternoon last week, his temperature was checked once again when he picked up a slice of a bestselling New York cheesecake from a popular Chennai bakery.
“My work dried up when the hotels shut down,” he said over the phone, describing his previous employment as a floor polisher. “I saw an ad for a Swiggy job on YouTube. There was a number listed to get in touch with a manager.”
S was looking for a way to feed his wife and 2-year-old daughter after 60 days of no income; he was still ostensibly employed at the floor cleaning company but hadn’t been paid for 2 months. He already owned a motorcycle, so he was pretty much ready to hit Chennai’s empty roads.
His initiation was swift: S was sent a link on WhatsApp instructing him to download the Swiggy app, an instructional video laid out the do’s & don’ts to protect himself from Covid-19, and a final section explained how to interact with customers.
- 7 Big Little Lies Of The Modi Government’s Coronavirus Economic Relief
- MGNREGA Can’t Be The Modi Govt’s Only Answer To Migrant Jobs Crisis. An Economist Explains why
- ‘A Lot More Pain To The Economy’: Former Finance Secretary On Modi Govt’s Aatma Nirbhar Stimulus
“I was told about contactless delivery. I needed to leave the item outside the door, take a picture of it, ring the bell and...