Paper: Competition sparks tensions in food delivery business

Wolt delivery. Photo is illustrative.
Wolt delivery. Photo is illustrative. Source: Wolt

Among food delivery services operating in Estonia, two of the biggest competitors are the Finnish Wolt, which has operated on the Estonian market for years, and the Estonian Bolt, which entered the food delivery market last year, and while the newcomer sees no issue with the competition, leaked internal correspondence shows that Wolt is struggling with tensions caused by several factors, even along nationality lines.

"Considering the current situation, it is clear that unfortunately, the appearance of a competitor on the market has indeed affected our number of orders," Wolt Estonia employee Egert Prööm wrote in an internal letter his delivery workers, adding that another major factor is those couriers who left to try out the competing service and have since returned, reports daily Postimees (link in Estonian).

What has angered many Wolt couriers, however, is that despite claims in November that order volumes had seen a "catastrophic" decline, which was already hurting local employees, Wolt Operations Manager Simon Runzheimer allegedly signed a contract with Leaderline, a workforce recruitment company owned by his friend Sergei Brek, via which dozens of workers have arrived from Ukraine and elsewhere who are allegedly receiving preferential treatment in terms of both work hours and pay.

Wolt management doesn't deny having hired employees via recruitment firms, or that their contracts include a clause about hours with guaranteed wages, but they noted that over the past month and a half, they have hired via recruitment firms minimally in order to ensure more deliveries for existing couriers.

Wolt Estonia General Manager Liis Ristal confirmed to Postimees, however, that all of its couriers are employed under the same conditions and identical work contracts, stressing that their pay does not depend on an employee's nationality, age, gender or any other such factor, explaining that in cooperating with recruitment firms, the company simply always agrees upon a certain number of hours they cover.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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