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Why are Wolt couriers protesting in Prague?


Prague, Czech Republic – Several dozen Wolt couriers took to the Prague streets last week over changes made by the company at the end of January to their remuneration method.

Gathered on the Czech capital’s Wenceslas Square, Wolt contractors later marched through the city to the company’s headquarters, located in Holešovice.

Another protest had previously taken place on February 1.

Organisers of the demonstration, which was supported by Josef Středula, the head of the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions, claim their income dropped by about 20% as a result of the changes.

Interviewed by the Czech News Agency, some Wolt couriers said their net hourly income was about 35 to 65 kc, or less than 3€, after covering all the charges (price of gas, insurance, taxes).

Wolt announced their couriers’ minimum payment for an order would be increased by 10 to 20%, a move deemed unnecessary by protesters. Disgruntled Wolt couriers launched an online petition calling for greater financial compensation and additional employment guarantees, including transparency on the number of new hires and a contribution to transport maintenance costs.

Wolt management said the drop in earnings was only temporary and caused by more people joining the delivery service, and that the level of remuneration had already bounced back to its former level (about 250 to 300 Kc per hour).

About 7,000 people work for the Finnish delivery company in more than a dozen cities across the Czech Republic. Because they are not directly employed by Wolt but work as independent contractors or “partners”, their pay, job conditions and benefits are notoriously precarious and have long been described by critics as a form of modern slavery.

Other food delivery companies present in the country, including Bolt Food and Dáme jídlo, operate in a similar way.

Founded in 2014, Wolt now works in more than 20 countries and 300 cities around the world. It has about 7,000 office employees and partners with some 150,000 couriers globally.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.