A review into food courier contracts is still ongoing over four months after the state employment agency questioned their legality.
The issue surrounding the independent contractor model was made apparent last November after a drop in hourly rates at one food courier company sparked backlash amongst drivers, many of whom are third-country nationals, ending with one being suspended temporarily and another being booted out.
Moreover, it was later revealed that over 1,200 non-EU nationals working with food courier platforms were employed on “illegal work contracts” that were subject to a review by the Department for Industrial and Employment Relations.
Under the current food courier system, third-party agencies take a commission from what food couriers earn. In some cases that can be as high as 50%, with some couriers clocking up to 80 hours work a week.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, the then-CEO of TXF Tech, the partners for Bolt in Malta said that the company is working on presenting a position paper to the government to introduce some much-needed regulation in the sector.
“There are many benefits and consequences to the industry – and we need to have a discussion with all the people involved to ensure everyone is being respected,” he said.
Finance Minister Clyde Caruana also said an extensive review into the contracts of food couriers was being conducted, but over four months later, that review is still ongoing.
“The Department for Industrial and Employment Relations is looking into the sector, and meeting with various related stakeholders, to ensure the implementation of good practices in line with existing employment legislations,” a government spokesperson told Lovin Malta.
The food courier industry exploded onto the scene in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic last year with major companies, including Bolt and Wolt, establishing a foothold on the island. The majority of employees are third-country nationals who rely on the courier service as their main source of income.
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