Outrage after Bahrain delivery rider suspended for eating cancelled order

The punishment of the Talabat rider sparks anger among social media users in the Arab world.

Bahrain flag
Talabat responded in a statement on Instagram saying the clip was taken in Bahrain and the incident would be investigated [File: Reuters]

A food delivery driver has been suspended after a video of him eating from an apparently cancelled order went viral on Twitter.

In the video, the driver was seen with his motorbike for the Talabat delivery service parked on the side of a road as he proceeded to open the delivery carriage and eat out of a meal.

When the Gulf-based newspaper Khaleej Times reached out to the delivery company to enquire about the incident, Talabat responded in a statement by saying that the clip was taken in Bahrain and the driver had been punished.

“We recently became aware of a video showing a rider poorly handling an order, which is against our health and safety policies,” the statement said. “Even though this has been confirmed as [a] canceled order, the rider has been immediately suspended, pending further investigation.

“We take such behaviour very seriously and have sent a reminder to all logistics partners and riders to abide by our health and safety guidelines.”

As news of the driver’s suspension spread on social media, users hit back at the delivery company, expressing their support for the delivery driver, who appeared to be a migrant worker, saying he should not be suspended over the incident.

The incident reignited a fierce discussion around labour rights in the Gulf and criticism over the treatment of migrant workers. The region has about 30 million migrant workers, who make up from 80 percent to 90 percent of the labour market in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain and from 60 percent to 70 percent in Saudi Arabia and Oman.

One social media user in Saudi Arabia offered the driver a job at his company.

“Dear Talabat driver, I believe you were eating due to order cancellation, and I heard that you were banned from working, however, please direct messaged me for a job in KSA.”

Another social media user criticised the person who published the clip, saying it caused his suspension from work.

Translation: “The person who filmed the clip and published it, cut this man’s source of income without any proof, may God do him justice.”

A third social media user said that when an order gets cancelled, it should not be denied to someone who is hungry. Another user said that the driver was unjustly treated.

Translation: When an order gets cancelled it should be the right of the driver. 

Source: Al Jazeera