The Wolt couriers in Prague are protesting again

Stanislava Benešová

Several dozen couriers from the Wolt delivery company are protesting on Tuesday for the second time on Wenceslas Square in Prague against the remuneration system change, which they say has caused their wages to fall.

After the first protest, the company said it would raise the minimum remuneration for couriers. The rally organizers are planning to march through the center of Prague from 16:30 and then along the motorway across the Hlávkův Bridge to the company’s headquarters on Strossmayer Square. Police said on Twitter that the event would significantly complicate traffic.

The police also asked drivers to avoid the center of Prague. The parade is due to go from Wenceslas Square to the main thoroughfare via Krakovská, Žitná, Štěpánská and Ječná streets to I.P. Pavlova Square, from where it will continue along the main thoroughfare via the Hlávkův Bridge to Holešovice. The police will direct the traffic.

According to company spokeswoman Jana Jarošová, Tuesday’s protest before the start of the event did not affect the availability of the service. Wolt did not see any significant problems or delays in orders during the midday rush hour. Organizers urged protesters not to log into the system all day.

About a hundred couriers protested on Wenceslas Square in early February. They claimed that their earnings had fallen after changes in the remuneration system. Wolt said that earnings had fallen short-term because of the many people joining the system at the time. It considered the whole situation to be more of a misunderstanding.

According to the company’s management, shortly after the first protest, the couriers’ remuneration had already reached the same level as before the changes to the system. Their earnings should be between CZK 250 and CZK 300 per hour. Couriers and delivery companies usually work as so-called partners, i.e., freelancers who have to pay for their own social and health insurance or vehicle maintenance costs, for example.

Commenting on the many people interested in joining the system, Jarošová said that the company recruits couriers according to the forecast number of orders and has not been accepting new ones since mid-January.

Organizers of the event met with company officials after the first protest. The company then said it would increase the minimum remuneration per order. The amount is expected to rise by 10 to 20 percent, depending on the region in which the couriers work. However, after the meeting, the protest organizers said they were still unhappy and called the protest again.

Wolt operates directly in 15 Czech cities. Besides Prague, these include Brno, Ostrava, Plzeň, and Hradec Králové.