Wolt drivers in Nicosia were striking for the second day in a row on Wednesday, over pay cuts amid increasing prices in food, petrol and utility bills.

The demonstration turned sour after a police officer was seen screaming at the drivers, who were marching around Nicosia holding placards demanding fair rights.

The drivers say that in the past few months their pay rates have been slashed and a lot of extra bonuses such as delivering in adverse pay conditions have been scrapped.

“We are in the streets every day, risking our lives to do our job and then they cut our salaries? The normal thing is that the longer you work in a company, you get an increase not a decrease,” one driver told the Cyprus Mail on condition of anonymity.

He added drivers have to pay their own fuel costs, and the rates used to calculate the wages have been cut, making their job even harder.

“Our base rate used to be €2.40 within a 1km area and has now gone down to €2.26 cents. We used to get paid extra when it rained and now that’s gotten cut too.

“We work very hard on the road risking our life in the rain, cold but unfortunately Wolt is decreasing the payment rate after every three or two months.”

A spokesman for Wolt told the Cyprus Mail 80 per cent of the drivers have employment contracts with fleet managers – third party companies which hire the drivers. Consequently, Wolt has nothing to do with the employment conditions those companies set. The remaining 20 per cent work as freelancers.

One of Wolt’s drivers said the fleet managers cut 30 per cent of the driver’s earnings. With around 10 per cent deducted for social insurance, by the time drivers get paid, they have lost 40 per cent of their wages.

“If I make €100 then I’m left with €60. Petrol is on us and with this money we also have to pay all our bills and the price of everything is going up.”

The protest was held outside Wolt’s corporate offices in Nicosia on Digeni Akrita, and then drivers walked around Nicosia demanding justice.

A video later surfaced of a police officer screaming at the drivers – who appeared to be walking peacefully on the pavement – that they needed permission. The drivers are heard repeatedly telling the officer they have secured permission from the police. He does not appear to relent, continuing to shout that they do not have permission and asking for how long they will continue.

“Just because we are from third world countries, they think we don’t have rights,” one of the drivers said. “We are not harming anyone we are just on our way, and we are not even on the road.”

Commenting on the payments, Wolt’s spokesman noted “there is no such thing as a base rate. There is a total fee which dynamically incorporates factors such as time, distance, accessibility, couriers’ availability. As such, some orders pay more and some less, than what used to be the case when fixed fees were applied.”


On the contrary, “the hourly Wolt compensation has steadily increased over the last six weeks and is now above €8.5.”

Effectively, a fleet manager hires a number of drivers. The manager receives compensation from Wolt based on the work the drivers make and the same manager is responsible for paying the drivers their dues, calculated according to Wolt’s rates.

However the managers make their own deal with the drivers, hence the where the problem lies: drivers feel they are being exploited.

The Cyprus Mail understands most of the striking drivers work for one fleet manager in particular, who was not immediately available to respond for comment.

A driver however said “all the managers are the same.”

Asked how Wolt had responded to the driver’s strike, one driver, on condition of anonymity, said Wolt has since deactivated many accounts the drivers use.

“They are using us. They think because we are students that we don’t have any other choice.”

Wolt’s spokesman said “only very few accounts of couriers who have been accepting orders without delivering were suspended, in order to ensure the proper operation and service for the customer.”

Drivers also want the reinstation of the extra payment they would get when they had to deliver in the rain.

Wolt’s spokesman however noted the company “doesn’t explicitly encourage someone, with a bonus, to deliver under difficult circumstances. Couriers are always free to accept and reject an order, based on a price that is displayed to them when offering the task.”

“The system increases the compensation per task, whenever there is imbalance between supply and demand for the delivery of an order.”

For the most part, delivery drivers in Cyprus are third country migrants where a number of concerns have also come to the fore about possible wage and working conditions exploitation.

“We work hard, delivering food to people every day. We hope the Cypriot people can support us.”

Earlier this year, police called for an end to violent incidents against delivery drivers after reports surfaced of drivers getting beaten and their wallets stolen.