The Slovenia Times

Food couriers step up pressure on platforms

A two-hour warning strike by food delivery couriers with the placard reading "We demand negotiations".
Photo: Mladi Plus trade union

The Trade Union of Food Delivery Couriers staged a two-hour work stoppage on 12 May after delivery companies Wolt and Glovo refused to recognise the union as a social partner or enter talks on a collective bargaining agreement.

On 26 April, the Trade Union of Food Delivery Couriers presented Wolt and Glovo, the only two app-based food delivery services in the country, with a request to enter negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement that would regulate the status of couriers.

The two companies rejected the request on the grounds that there was no legal basis either for the negotiations due to the couriers' freelance status, or for couriers unionising.

The union argues this is not true, as "workers' unionising is a basic human right enshrined in the constitution in Slovenia", and one of trade unions' primary tasks is collective bargaining agreements.

The union sees the companies' response as a clear attack on unionising, and intends to fight it with all means available.

One of the union's members told a press conference in Ljubljana that the union would like to see systemic solutions and negotiations.

"If couriers were happy, we would not strike. Our situation has worsened, we earn 20-30% less because of the change in the pay system, while the cost of living is rising," he said.

The union claims all legal grounds for bargaining are provided since it represents 120 couriers and the fact that they are freelancers has no bearing on that given that the right to unionising is enshrined in the Slovenian Constitution and EU regulations.

"The European Commission agrees that platform work needs to be regulated, and has drawn up a proposal for a European directive," said Jernej Kastelic of Mladi Plus, the trade union under whose umbrella the couriers have unionised.

Between 11am and 1pm more than 100 couriers refused to pick up orders, according to the union. Wolt and Glovo said the strike did not affect work.

According to Wolt, only around 10 of their delivery couriers went on strike. Glovo does not have the information about the number of couriers on strike, "but we made sure there were no major delivery disruptions".

Both companies said they were willing to continue dialogue with the couriers.

Wolt said it had last met Mladi Plus in mid-March. "We told them we support the European Commission's activities at local and EU level to provide guidelines for members states that would pave the way to collective representation for the self-employed."

Glovo said it has acted in good faith and carefully assessed the demands of the "association" of the self-employed at Mladi Plus from the legal point of view. "We would like to stress that we are always open to dialogue, to understanding needs and to seeking constructive solutions to all issues".


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