Yesterday we had the first meeting with “Bolt” representatives. As we expected, “Bolt” stated their position on our demands that could be briefly summed up as “business is growing and we do not see any issues”.
More than 20 people participated in the meeting – most of them couriers and our colleagues. We met three representatives of the company – director Andrius Pacevičius, regional manager for “Bolt food” Ruslanas Savičius and public relation specialist (who only followed the meeting ). Vuk Vukotic represented Couriers Association. Several couriers spoke out about work conditions – Meda, Dovydas, Povilas and Paolo.
The company presented various numbers and averages, lessons about free market and so called “historical facts” (data generated by couriers and taxi drivers) that they use to regulate the number of couriers.
As we expected, “Bolt” did not agree to stop the employment of couriers and cooperate with us to ensure stable work. According to company representatives, at the moment the average level of orders is enough for couriers to earn average salary.
The option to choose work paid by hour was as well neglected by the employer. They stated that at the moment the average hourly wage is higher than 5 euros, reaching more than 6 euros, therefore, they see that there is no need for such regulation.
They also rejected the demand to raise the basic tariff per delivery to 3,5 euro. Raising of tariff would “push the company out of competition” – regional manager stated. As well, the representatives mentioned, that they would pursue for reduction of supplementary benefits in case of higher tariff.
Apart from demands raised in the petition, we discussed the work safety issues. Dovydas, one of the couriers, told the story about his work injury – while delivering food to the client, he fell from the bike and suffered heavy head injury. The company representative answered with a “lesson”, that “he should be more careful, don’t speed too much and take care of the food”, as well adding that “you can choose car, if the bicycle is unsafe for you”.
Paulo, another courier, spoke about situation in Italy. Although the platform companies are not recognized as “traditional employer”, but they are obliged to pay social security taxes and provide the couriers with 5 days compensation in case of accident or sick leave.
Although the meeting was quite vague, we hope that the dialogue will proceed and we will reach constructive decisions. “Bolt” director promised to share information about how many couriers are employed, how they define the needed number of couriers, what are the average wages and other important information. Knowing this information we could understand the situation better and proceed with more constructive proposals on how to ensure safer and more stable work.
At the moment we are preparing an official letter to the company to ask for information about couriers. The director of company promised to send an answer in one week.