Tel Aviv motorists were met with another disruption on Wednesday morning as a swarm of messenger Vespas and electric bicycles flooded the streets of Dizengoff Circle. The demonstration was led by couriers working for Wolt, a popular food delivery service, who claim mistreatment and decreased wages due to the company’s new “dynamic pricing” system.
Wolt introduced this pricing model in several countries, including Israel, the Czech Republic, Greece, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Croatia, Germany, and Serbia. Couriers argue that the new method has resulted in a significant reduction in their earnings, with wages dropping by approximately 20-25%. They also criticize the lack of transparency associated with the new system.
An investigation by the Gig Economy Project revealed that Wolt’s new contract, which couriers have been required to sign since January 17, incorporates an algorithm to determine the payment rate. This algorithm considers various factors, such as delivery distance, weather conditions, delivery size, courier or restaurant location, and time of day, to calculate the compensation.
However, there are additional undisclosed components that affect the final payment, including the courier’s earnings, the number of deliveries completed within a specific period, and their overall performance. The investigation highlights that the new contract explicitly states that couriers will not be informed about the specific parameters or changes that influence the proposed fee.
Effectively, couriers are left in the dark, unsure of how much they will earn for their work each day, with no visibility into future compensation. This lack of transparency has fueled frustration among the delivery workers, leading to protests in Tel Aviv and other cities.
Wolt has not yet responded to the recent protests, but the company will need to address the concerns raised by couriers and find a solution that ensures fair compensation and transparent working conditions. As the gig economy continues to grow, it becomes increasingly crucial to establish sustainable practices that prioritize the well-being of workers.