Following a series of protests against low pay and a three-day strike action by food delivery riders, Bolt Food in Ghana has finally succumbed to pressure and increased its riders’ pay by at least 10%. According to a reliable source, this follows an online meeting with representatives of the riders on Saturday.
The company, on Monday, finally agreed to increase riders’ pay from a base of 9 cedis (c) for the shortest trip (0.5km) to 10 cedis (off-peak). The same distance attracts a pay of 10.19c during peak hours, up from 9.43c.
Similarly, for a distance of 1km, the food delivery company agreed to pay 10.50c, up from the 9.50c it was paying for off-peak hours. Also, going forward, a distance of 1.5 km will now attract a pay of 11c for off-peak hours, up from 10c.
Below is a chart detailing the new rates revealed to this reporter by representatives of the food company.
Genesis of the Bolt Food vs Courier saga
An impasse about an increment in pay began in October 2022 when Bolt Food reportedly reduced the riders’ pay from 10 cedis to 9 cedis for short trips. At this time, the riders didn’t make much of it as fuel was then sold for around 6c per litre.
Later in the year, fuel prices skyrocketed to an astounding 18c per litre. Even then, the drivers claim the company didn’t increase their pay. However, when the price of fuel fell to 12.6c, the company decided to reduce pay to 7c base fare for the shortest distance.
“That did not go down well with us so we decided to select leaders from our areas of work to represent us. They wrote a letter to Bolt Ghana demanding for the rates to be increased to at least 12 cedis per order. We also asked them to fix issues of leaving couriers’ balances high after disposing of cancelled foods and the blocking of couriers’ accounts without hearing from them,” a rider told me.
In response, the company released a different payment structure on April 6 which the couriers rejected and then decided to press their demands even further, this time in the form of a strike.
The strike, which was billed for 7-10 of April, was in protest against what the riders described as unbearable low pay which the company imposed on them.
The riders are also protesting the maltreatment meted out to some of their representatives spearheading the struggle. According to them, some of their leaders were blocked from the app because of their various roles in pushing the movement.
But just one day into the strike, on April 8, Bolt Food called for an online meeting where the drivers demanded an increase in base fare from 9 cedis to 12 cedis. They also demanded that their colleagues be unblocked and that the company recognizes its union.
Now, the company has yielded to pressure and reviewed its prices upward. And though it isn’t up to the sum which the riders demanded, this reporter can confirm that they have accepted the new payment structure.
The Vice President (Sub-Saharan Africa) of the International Alliance of App-based Transport Workers (IAATW), Comrade Ayoade Ibrahim also confirmed that all riders wrongfully removed from the platform have been reinstated.
“Yes, Bolt has reinstated them. Bolt also recognizes the zonal representatives as elected by the riders even though the company is yet to recognise the union. But we can accept that for now,” the Vice President said.
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