A newly formed trade union has emerged in Slovenia to safeguard the rights and interests of food delivery couriers working for Wolt and Glovo. With over 100 couriers on board, the Trade Union of Food Delivery Couriers, a part of the youth trade union Mladi Plus, was created in response to poor working conditions and decreasing wages. According to Mojca Žerak of Mladi Plus, the main motivation for unionising was the continual decline of the couriers’ situation and the lack of consideration shown towards them by the two platform companies’ management.
The newly formed union demands that Wolt and Glovo acknowledge the union as the sole legitimate and relevant stakeholder in conversations regarding courier matters. They called for the companies to engage in collective bargaining to enhance working conditions. Union member Janez Peterlin, who works for both companies, highlighted the physically demanding nature of their job and the fact that the decision to form the union was made following the unilateral wage cut by Wolt and Glovo two months ago. This action reduced the mileage charge by over 50%, resulting in a decrease of the couriers’ income by 20-30%.
On average, couriers earn €11 per hour, amounting to approximately €1,848 gross per month, based on a 21-day working month or 168 hours. Peterlin emphasised that once the couriers’ €500 contributions (mostly paid by self-employed couriers), €200 vehicle depreciation, and €300 petrol and food expenses are deducted, their net pay is €648. Union members will formally present their demands to both companies next week. Kristijan Kitner, another union member, stated that if the management of both companies refuses to engage with the union, the union will be forced to escalate their activities.
Andrej Zorko of the ZSSS trade union association stated that the decision to unionise is a call for help. Zorko urged Wolt and Glovo to engage in social dialogue and offered a warning: “If they do not respond positively, we’ll assume they support modern slavery.” A courier who arrived in Slovenia from Ukraine last year highlighted the language barrier as a significant challenge when trying to find a new job. The courier emphasised that they had neither the time nor the money to attend a language course due to the nature of their work.
In response to the unionisation, Wolt management told the STA that they are always open to engaging in dialogue with their delivery partners and have never penalised any couriers for expressing their opinions. Wolt also voiced their support for the European Commission in guiding member states to create policies that permit the self-employed to have collective representation.