Catering restaurant waiter

Malta’s Association of Catering Establishments (ACE) is encouraging all food couriers to reach out to the organisation so that it may assist them in finding jobs with “fair and proper pay”.

ACE issued a statement over the weekend in response to a strike among freelance Bolt food couriers who protest deteriorating working conditions and the ability to earn a living wage due to the company constantly adding couriers to its network.

It raised concerns over the impact of the strike on local catering establishments, referring to present day challenges such as persistent staff shortages hampering operations and the ability to recover from pandemic-related disruptions.

Freelance Bolt food couriers who spoke to BusinessNow.mt explained there are two tiers of couriers – those subcontracted through an agency, and those who work on a freelance basis.

The agency workers are paid directly by the agency, who is in turn paid by Bolt directly per delivery. Freelance workers on the other hand are engaged via a service agreement.

One of the major complaints by couriers is that Bolt continues to lower delivery rates. For agency workers, many claim an agency can take up to 50 per cent of delivery fees as an ‘agency service’. For freelance workers, they heavily complain about the inability to review the details of a delivery – such as how far it is and where the drop off location will be – before accepting a job.

On its part, ACE referred to a survey it carried out on the wages and conditions among catering industry workers in a bid to entice employees back to the industry, and urged couriers to get in touch in order to benefit from the “adequate salaries paid” within the catering industry.

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