Wolt drivers in Larnaca stopped their strikes on Monday and went back to work after assurances a solution will be found. Nonetheless, Peo union has cried foul over what it describes as subversion tactics, to try and break up the nationwide strike.
“They are offering drivers higher rates to encourage them to stop striking. It’s a classic way to break up a strike,” Nicosia district general secretary for Syxka Peo, Michalis Tsikkouris, told the Cyprus Mail.
A spokesman for Wolt however said this is an automatic feature when there are fewer drivers. “If fleet managers have decided to do something else, that’s not on us.”
Additionally, drivers are offered assurances that their requests will be met “but this is just a way to get them to stop striking,” Tsikkouris said.
The strikes began in Nicosia on Tuesday and was joined by Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos as the week progressed.
The problem lies in several pay cuts they say the have received, which has also brought to light the issue surrounding third-party companies that hire the drivers, called fleet managers.
EU nationals can work as freelancers with Wolt, enjoying rates of above €8.50 per hour. However, asylum seekers, political refugees and students can only work through fleet managers where they get a rate of around €2.40 per hour which has also been reduced, and thus prompted the strike.
Drivers say these managers cut some 40 per cent of their wages. Around 10 per cent goes towards social insurance and Gesy contributions.
Tsikkouris said the remaining 30 per cent that fleet managers get is free money they get as agents, without actually doing anything.
Extra expenses such as fuel, uniform and call expenses are on drivers to cover, they say.
One driver in Larnaca told the Cyprus Mail they had received assurances that meetings will be held with fleet managers to try and resolve the disputes. “They told us that the pay cuts are deducted for short distances but increased for long distances.”
“Wolt said they will support us, but it is the Cypriot legislation that does not allow us to work as freelancers, as only EU nationals can work as freelances.”
Tsikkouris added that the labour ministry has taken over 100 interviews with several striking drivers in various cities and is expected to revert back to arrange a meeting between unions, fleet managers and Wolt representatives.
“We have not received an official invitation yet, but we are happy to cooperate with any relevant authority,” Wolt’s spokesman said.
“We are happy to have people work as freelancers, but it is the legislation in Cyprus that we follow,” he added.