Bolt Food couriers eyeing further action: ‘We now know we are powerful’

A spokesperson for the couriers hailed Friday's strike as a 'success', saying they will not back down until their demands are met

An estimated 500 couriers took part in Friday's strike
An estimated 500 couriers took part in Friday's strike

Updated at 14:00 with reaction from Moviment Graffitti

Bolt Food couriers hailed Friday’s strike as a “success”, saying they will not back down until their demands are met.

An estimated 500 couriers took part in Friday's strike, organised in protest of the working conditions, and after one of them was beaten up in Zabbar while picking up an order from a pizzeria.

“So without doubt yesterday was a massive step forward with us receiving a lot of support from the people and restaurants. We have seen a huge strain on bolt food yesterday with only very few couriers on the road and demand going up without the means to deliver,” a spokesperson for the couriers told MaltaToday.

“For us yesterday was the first step of many, and a successful one at that. Some of the couriers are continuing the strike this morning out of solidarity.”

In July 2021, in two separate applications filed before the commercial court, one of the shareholders in the company operating Bolt’s mobile-app technology – TXF Tech – has sued the same company and TXF Tunisia Holding for €1.6 million, over the non-payment of two constitutions of debt.

In April 2022, the company then started operating independently through its group companies after its partnership agreement with TXF Tech ended in March.

“Bolt has not yet met any of our demands, however, we now know we hold the power in our hands […] We will continue working on our next steps, and will come back even stronger and more united. We will keep straining Bolt Food's operation until they cave,” the couriers’ spokesperson said.

Couriers working in ‘modern slavery’ conditions – Moviment Graffitti

NGO Moviment Graffitti said that the conduct of Bolt and the couriers’ employment agencies was “tantamount to modern slavery”.

It said that workers had to give up to 50% of their income from deliveries to the agencies that employ them, whilst Bolt consistently lowered the delivery rates.

“Thus, workers are drained by the system where they have to do enough deliveries to reach the targets set by the agencies, whilst getting increasingly meagre pay for every delivery,” Moviment Graffitti said.

The NGO said that 95% of the couriers participated in the strike, calling it a “clear show of force by the workers”. It said that they are determined to continue their actions in the coming weeks.

“It is totally shameful that Maltese authorities are allowing this abuse, with hundreds of workers savagely exploited for the profits of a few parasites.”