Story By: Madalina Spulber, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Picture Credit: CEN
This is the 21-year-old fast food delivery driver, who dropped dead from a suspected heart attack while working after being fined for missing targets amid claims he was worked to death.
Artyk Orozaliyev, who was healthy with no history of heart problems, died after collapsing at the end of his shift for Deliveroo-style company Yandex Food in Russia’s second city of St Petersburg.
His death sparked outrage after photographs of his dead body lying in the road, still wearing his yellow Yandex Food uniform, were published on social media.
Artyk’s heartbroken older brother, Timu, who had brought him up ever since he was a baby, said Artyk had been fined for missing his targets and had been desperate to prove himself to his bosses.
Timu said: “He said the schedule was complex and that he was fined – as he did not have time to deliver something – and wanted to make up for the mistake in front of his boss…
“The cause of death was a heart attack, and he has never had heart problems. I consulted with a cardiologist, and he told me this could happen to an absolutely healthy person from overwork.”
Artyk had arrived in Russia, from the small village of Tort-Kul in Kyrgyzstan, six months ago and had quickly landed the job with Yandex Food to support himself.
Timu added: “He always dreamed about seeing Russia, he really wanted to go there. He liked St Petersburg, he especially liked bridges…
“He asked, and I let him go with another brother. We bought him a house here… He did not need money. He was like a son to me, he grew up with me since he was seven months old.
“I tried to dissuade him, but he went anyway. He worked for Yandex Food for a little more than a month, and he liked it there. He told me he had bought a bicycle for 40,000 RUB (385 GBP) to deliver food.
Colleagues said Artyk had collapsed and fallen off his bicycle after delivering fast food meals to the company’s customers for 10 straight hours.
Artyk had reportedly complained of feeling unwell when he bought a snack from a kebab stall shortly before he collapsed.
Russia’s State Labour Inspectorate has launched an investigation into his death which will consider whether the country’s employment laws have been breached.
Bosses whose actions cause the death of their workers can be banned from running companies and even face sentences of up to four years’ forced labour or jail.
A Yandex Food spokesman said the company had also launched its own internal inquiry.
He said: “We are waiting for the results of a medical examination which will clarify the causes of death. We contacted Artyk’s family and are now in touch with them to help in this terrible situation.”
The spokesman added the company was exploring ways to use technology to ensure its couriers did not work long hours without taking breaks.