The Slovenia Times

Wolt and Glovo couriers form union

A trade union of food delivery couriers set up under the wing of the Mladi Plus trade union.
Photo: Mladi Plus

A new trade union has been formed to protect the rights and interests of food delivery couriers in Slovenia. It brings together more than 100 couriers working for Wolt and Glovo.

Part of the youth trade union Mladi Plus, the Trade Union of Food Delivery Couriers was formed because of what the two unions describe as poor working conditions and falling wages.

"The main reason for unionising was a further deterioration of the couriers' situation, and at the same time complete disregard for the workers by the managements of these two platform companies," Mojca Žerak of Mladi Plus told reporters on 19 April.

The members of the new trade union want Wolt and Glovo to recognise the union as the only legitimate and relevant stakeholder in talks about matters concerning the couriers. They called on the companies to enter into collective bargaining to improve the working conditions.

Noting the demanding nature of their work, Janez Peterlin, a union member who works for both companies, said the decision to form the union came after Wolt and Glovo unilaterally cut pay two months ago.

The mileage charge was cut by more than half, which in practice means that the couriers' income has been reduced by 20-30%, he said.

Their average gross pay is €11 per hour. In a month with 21 working days, or 168 hours, the average courier earns around €1,848 gross.

"When we deduct the €500 contributions that the couriers, who are mostly self-employed, have to pay, the €200 vehicle depreciation, the €300 petrol and food costs, we end up with net pay of €648," Peterlin said.

Union members will formally present their demands to the two companies next week. "If the two managements are not willing to talk to the union, we'll be forced to step up activity," said Kristijan Kitner, another union member.

Andrej Zorko of the ZSSS trade union association considers the move to unionise a cry for help. "We expect a positive response from Wolt and Glovo, otherwise we'll assume they support modern slavery," he said, urging the companies to engage in social dialogue.

A courier who arrived in Slovenia from Ukraine last year pointed out that it was hard to get another job if you do not speak Slovenian, but because of the nature of the work she had neither time nor money to attend a language course.

Responding, the Wolt management told the STA it was always open to dialogue with its delivery partners and had never sanctioned any of them for voicing their opinion.

"We agree that it is good that the self-employed have the opportunity to represent their interests. That is why we support the European Commission in providing guidelines to member states to pave the way for the self-employed to have collective representation," Wolt said.


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