Protest by couriers of the Wolt delivery company against changes in the remuneration system, which caused their earnings to drop, February 14, 2023, Prague.
Prague – Several dozen couriers of the delivery company Wolt today protested in the center of Prague for the second time this month against a change in the remuneration system, due to which, according to them, their earnings decreased. They met at Wenceslas Square, from where they later set out on a march through the surrounding streets across the highway in front of the company's headquarters in Holešovice. There they chanted slogans designated by the company's management and ended today's event after 18:00. The company Wolt, through its spokesperson, stated that it is ready to communicate with the couriers and, after mutual agreement, to negotiate again.
Speakers at Wenceslas Square criticized the functioning of the remuneration system, which they say is non-transparent. Some also identified the massive recruitment of couriers as a problem. One of the couriers said that in ten hours of work he earns 2,200 to 2,500 CZK when delivering by car, and he has to deduct the depreciation of the car, the price of gasoline, insurance or taxes from that. “My average per hour is a net profit of 35 crowns,” he said. Another stated that he earns an average of 35 to 65 crowns per hour.
The chairman of the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions, Josef Středula, also supported the couriers' protest at Wenceslas Square. He said their fight for better working conditions is completely justified. According to him, the company sets unpredictable working conditions for couriers. Couriers should cooperate with the unions, they think.
After less than two hours, according to the estimate of the ČTK reporter, less than a hundred couriers with banners, whistles and megaphones set off on the planned march through Krakovská, Žitná, Štěpánská and Ječná Streets, I.P. Pavlova Square and then along the main road over Hlávkův Bridge to Holešovice. In front of the Wolt headquarters, they whistled and chanted slogans calling on the company's management to negotiate, then ended the protest and dispersed.
The police had previously called on drivers to avoid this location due to traffic complications. During the couriers' march, they directed traffic so that cars could pass through busy streets in the center during the afternoon rush hour.
Wolt works with approximately 7,000 couriers in the Czech Republic, and another 5,000 are interested in joining the operation. According to the company's management, shortly after the first protest, the couriers' remuneration reached the same level as before the changes to the system, and their earnings should reach 250 to 300 CZK per hour. Couriers of delivery companies usually work as so-called partners, i.e. as self-employed persons who have to pay for themselves, for example, social and health insurance and vehicle maintenance costs.
Around a hundred couriers protested on Wenceslas Square already at the beginning of February. They reported that their earnings had fallen following changes in the remuneration system. Wolt argued that earnings were reduced in the short term due to the large number of people joining the system at the time. The company considers the whole situation to be more of a misunderstanding.
After the first protest, the organizers of the event met with the representatives of the company. The company then said it would increase the minimum reward per order. The amount should rise by ten to 20 percent, depending on the region in which the couriers work. But the result was not enough for the organizers of the protest and they called another protest for today.
According to Wolt spokesperson Jana Jarošová, today's protest before the start of the event or during it had no effect on the availability of the delivery service, which was functioning normally. Organizers urged protest participants not to log in to the system today. In the evening, a ČTK spokeswoman said that the company is open to communication with its partner couriers. “We meet by mutual agreement, as was the case last week. At the same time, all couriers know how to contact us and that we respond to their suggestions, feedback or questions as soon as possible,” said Jarošová.