Labor Inspectorate Should Prioritize Regular Inspections of Delivery Companies

The Covid-19 pandemic has spurred a boom in food delivery services in Georgia, where the streets are packed with mopeds carrying branded boxes for companies like Glovo or Bolt Food.

These app-based employers offer a seductive pitch for would-be couriers, especially in a time of high unemployment: flexible hours and plenty of work. But things soured quickly. Since January, in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, there have been two strikes by couriers working for Glovo and Bolt Food. More than 100 workers turned off their apps in response to a set of policy changes that started in August 2020, which included decreased perorder compensation and performance bonus targets that couriers say are unrealistic.

Human Rights Watch has documented elsewhere how some app-based employers fail to pay living wages, a trend that may now be emerging in Georgia. The strikers also raised a concern that the combination of shrinking perorder fees and ambitious bonus targets impacts workplace safety, an issue Georgian workers have long struggled with, outside the app-based economy.