A few days ago, the timeline of this event would have been very different. It’s been a year since Rider’s Law came into force, which was approved by the government to prevent the systematic abuse of bogus self-employed people in home delivery via companies such as Glovo, Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Until Monday, Panorama was the sector that was forced to change the hiring system, to sign labor contracts. riders through various formulas. Except for one multinational that defied the norm: Glovo, the largest company in the sector. But earlier this week, the photo changed. Uber Eats, another great company Delivery, announced that it will once again have self-employed suppliers, a model it abandoned due to the Rider Act. His message: If Glovo can continue to distribute to freelancers, so can the rest of us.
The Uber Eats movement is putting two of the sector’s biggest companies in “rebellion” and undermining the effectiveness of the Rider Law on its first birthday. It is no longer a loose verse against all others, however important it may be (lament), which sooner or later obeys the law. Now, a company that used to abide by labor laws is following its stance and has decided to take its own steps.
Although the Ministry of Labor insists that there is “no fight against the law” and warns that there will be consequences for violations, the panorama of rebellious companies has widened. In response to these media inquiries, Uber Eats has not backed down on its intentions, despite Labor warnings, including possible criminal liability for non-compliant platforms.
July (not her real name), rider The Venezuelan, who was walking on the Gran Via in Madrid this Thursday afternoon, explains that he has already sent the documents to advertise again as a freelancer at Uber Eats. In his case, the freelance model allows him to make more money than with a contract, he says, working many more hours a day. From morning to evening, with a little rest. “As it is, I have to cover the expenses.”
Another colleague comes out of the fast food chain a few meters away, he is also Venezuelan. “Like the vast majority of riders,” he laughs. In his case, he doesn’t have a work permit yet and can only distribute as self-employed, so this is his way of earning.
Maria, of the same nationality, carries a backpack from a small supply company with which she has an indefinite employment contract. “I earn just €1,200 a month, which is enhanced by tips,” he explains. The young woman appreciates the stability of the contract, “that you go on vacation in peace and know that your salary will be the same.”
The Rider Law sought to strengthen the employment status of digital platform providers, the so-called riders, which has already verified many labor inspection records and court decisions, but without changing the business model of the companies. Employment or self-employment status is not something that is chosen according to what is best for the company or the worker, but is determined by the relationship between the two, by how the activity is carried out.
Companies such as Glovo, Deliveroo and Uber Eats, whose business consists of home delivery (mainly food), couriers did not have a contract but were self-employed, which meant savings on labor costs and a decrease in revenue for multinational companies. Social security in social contributions.
With the Supreme Court’s rulings on Glovo and then Deliveroo, the High Court also struck down the supposed autonomy of messengers. The magistrates warned of the existence of a disguised employment relationship, in which the platforms and their algorithms were not mere intermediaries between consumers and restaurants, but ordered suppliers and organized their work.
Nevertheless, delivery platforms continued to work with freelancers. Only one big one, Just Eat, operated under a labor model based on subcontracting.
With this panorama, the Ministry of Labor decided to regulate the presumption of employment of messengers under the Reeder Act to force companies to comply with the legislation. Despite the labor body’s convictions and determination, Glovo, Deliveroo and Uber Eats defended themselves by saying that the existing legal framework was “not clear” and that the sanctions were based on old algorithmic systems that had already changed. So they continued to work.
Rider’s Law, agreed by Labor after long negotiations between employers and unions, was born to address this issue. In the new legal text, clearly define this employment relationship to force companies to hire their messengers.
At first, it succeeded, with changes in the sector that had not been achieved before, such as companies such as Uber Eats and even Deliveroo, which hired all of its employees before leaving the country. riders to exercise collective dismissal and leave Spain without open conflict with the authorities. But Glovo left the legislation: he became the only actor who resisted the labor model. kept the business going riders Autonomous (with some modifications to protect its legality), which has been a disadvantage for its competitors, as Uber Eats and Just Eat have denounced. Finally, Uber Eats has followed suit.
The pulse of the legislation followed several warnings from the Ministry of Labor, which raised the tone against non-compliance and also pointed to restaurants and establishments that use this distribution system outside the law as possible culprits.
“I insist: there are no business models that can challenge labor rights,” said Employment Secretary Joaquin Pérez Rey in a mid-vacation interview before Uber Eats was announced. “And in the face of any challenge, it is clear that the state, the Ministry of Labor, the Labor and Social Protection Inspectorate have the necessary tools to demand accountability and, of course, ensure compliance with all dimensions of the law.” she said.
Among the consequences – and this is new – the leader of the Labor after Vice President Yolanda Díaz warned about the possible criminal liability of the platforms, which he indicated for the “gross and declared” violation of the law. One step, criminal prosecution, which has not happened in Spain to date, despite the demands of trade unions and groups such as RidersxDerechos in the face of mourning attitudes.
“Currently, the prosecution has more than enough arguments to initiate criminal proceedings,” believes Adrian Todoli, a professor of labor law and an expert on digital platforms, who recalls that countries such as France and Italy have already taken this path.
Todoli believes that the government should “take one more step”, through criminal proceedings, to enforce the legislation. “The law wasn’t the problem here,” as the Supreme Court found that false self-employed abuse was already under previous legislation, the professor recalled. “There was an attempt to use the law to force companies to comply, and that was done well because there was an agreement with employers, but these digital companies have shown that they don’t work like that, in the most traditional way.” “, – he appreciates.
CCOO and UGT trade unions defend the legislation and labor model to guarantee workers’ rights. “Many of these riders On these days, they will enjoy paid leave, previously unrecognized leave. They will have sick leave and future social security benefits such as unemployment and pension contributions. We believe their situation has improved significantly,” says Carlos Gutierrez, CCOO.
With the departure of Deliveroo from Spain, for example, groups riders Those who advocated the self-employed model entered the ERE to negotiate the rights of the messengers, who they only had as employees. “As freelancers, they had nothing to match,” recalls the CCOO. The same thing happened when Uber Eats unilaterally shut down all of its riders With the autonomous rider law going into effect, it has led many groups, including unions, to challenge the hidden ERE. The Supreme Court recently reopened the case, reaffirming the legitimacy of CCOO and UGT to sue multinationals.
In the UGT, they also recall that “the Spanish regulation served to promote the European directive aimed at improving the working conditions of the platforms, which aims to ensure that workers can do so in fair and equal conditions and the rights of health, dignity and safety. Guarantee of quality working conditions”. The directive follows the steps of the Spanish legislation regarding several points, such as the obligation of transparency of algorithms that affect the working conditions of employees.
The trade unions demand that the government strengthen the enforcement of the norm so that it can be observed and improve the working conditions of the messengers. Just Eat argues the same: “The regulator must have the necessary resources and mechanisms to enforce the law and adapt its administrative and regulatory tools to a dynamic and substantial sector like ours.”
At the CCOO, they argue that without a forceful response, a few companies could create a “sense of frustration” and “mockery of the state” that would put the rule of law in a very bad place and set a bad precedent. future.
Source: El Diario