Former Wolt drivers in Berlin are taking legal action against the delivery company, alleging that their wages were withheld for several months. The cases were brought before the Berlin Labour Court, where two riders, hailing from India and Pakistan, claimed they were employed by subcontractor Mobile World, a mobile phone shop in Neukolln.
Mohammad B, one of the plaintiffs, stated that he applied for the job after seeing an advertisement on Facebook. To his surprise, he received the same “onboarding” documents and worked with the same app he had used during his previous stint with the company in 2021. The riders performed delivery jobs assigned through the app, but their suspicions arose when they did not receive any payment for their services.
However, Wolt refutes employing these riders or collaborating with Mobile World. The company denies any involvement in the withholding of wages.
Representing the workers, lawyer Martin Bechert argues that since app-based work is meticulously tracked, the company should have access to detailed records of when and how much the drivers worked. He also sheds light on the alarming trend of gig platforms recruiting vulnerable immigrants who may not be fully aware of their rights or fear the consequences of losing their residence permits.
Bechert further points out that the utilization of subcontractors has created an environment conducive to wage theft, making it challenging for workers to receive the compensation they rightfully earned.
It is estimated that as many as 120 couriers may have fallen victim to this wage withholding scheme after being recruited through subcontractors. The outcome of these legal battles could have significant implications for the gig economy and the treatment of delivery workers in the region. As the cases unfold, the spotlight remains on gig platforms and their responsibilities towards their workers, especially those operating in precarious situations and vulnerable positions.