Food delivery companies warned 50% pay cut for couriers is ‘unacceptable’

Food delivery stakeholders convened in Castille meeting with minister Carmelo Abela and DIER

The government has warned platform-work apps it will not tolerate legally dubious work contracts and 50% pay cuts.

Minister Carmelo Abela told food delivery app stakeholders and recruiters that such working conditions were unacceptable, in a meeting held at the Auberge de Castille last week on Thursday.

Abela said he made the government’s position clear in a meeting with stakeholders over various illegalities in the employment practices of food couriers, and that the equal-pay-for-equal-work principle must be respected.

The meeting took place on Thursday 27 May, with government officials from the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations and fleet managers coming together to discuss a way forward on the food courier debacle.

“If we don’t pay attention, platforms that increase commerce can end up being used for exploitation,” Abela wrote in GWU daily l-oriżżont.

“Our aim is not to pick a fight. Our aim is to reach an agreement where everyone comes out on top. We aren’t here to harm businesses, in fact we want to increase wealth. However, we want wealth to grow for everyone and not just for entrepreneurs and those in the managerial ranks.”

During the meeting, a DIER presentation gave a run-down of their investigations, flagging scenarios in which platform owners were hiring sub-contractors to employ the couriers themselves; platform owners hiring couriers directly, or hiring them on a self-employed basis.

Abela said that most contracts were not in conformity with the law, and confirmed that expenses were in fact being deducted from couriers’ wages.

Sources said that there was a general consensus during the meeting that no amounts should be deducted from their wages, with fleets paying their workers on an hourly basis with benefits included.

Abela said the wages given to these workers were already regulated at law, with allowances given on the services needed for couriers to carry out their work. Among these were included a mobile allowance, wear-and-tear allowance where applicable, and fuel-related expenses.

MaltaToday has reported extensively on the working conditions faced by couriers. In January, this newsroom revealed that food couriers hired with third-party recruitment agencies are taking a 50% pay-cut from their couriers’ salary.

Prior to this, MaltaToday published a feature exploring the allure of being a self-employed courier, as well as the risks generated by the platform model.