Battle sentenced, for now. As expected, the Government of Catalonia approved yesterday the new regulation of rental vehicles with driver (VTC), a controversial measure that, in exchange for achieving the pacification of the conflict in the streets – perhaps only momentarily – leaves touched of death to a new business model that sees no possible way out. With the apparently satisfied taxi drivers – they have achieved their main objective, the pre-contracting of VTC services one hour in advance – the transport platforms with drivers such as Uber or Cabify and the main operators announced a wave of layoffs and continue the battle in the courts .
At the time that the decree-law was approved by the Executive Council of the Govern, the VTC decided to end their protest on Avenida Diagonal, where more than 800 vehicles had remained motionless for ten days. Yesterday they said a bit to the protest, which may be temporary, to avoid further inconvenience to citizens, not without a final demonstration at the gates of the Generalitat, where the measure was being approved. They also gave the Autonomous Government 160,000 signatures of support to the sector, obtained during the last week. The collective will wait until tomorrow, when the regulations are published in the Official Gazette of the Generalitat of Catalonia (DOGC) and can check it in detail, to decide the next steps to follow.
The truth is that, just when the Govern proposal was announced eight days ago, the VTC assured with a downcast tone that the taxi had won and that yesterday with the withdrawal of their cars they symbolized that they were abandoning the fight , those affected are not considered defeated. Moreover, they are more aware than ever that the regulations that they have pushed forward are "perverse and make the survival of their businesses unfeasible," they recalled yesterday, which is why they warn that they will not sit idly by.
19 criminal complaints
Thus, without great concretions, these companies assumed that there will be challenges, appeals or other legal means to deal with this regulation that seriously injures them. The president of the VTC employers' association, Unauto in Catalonia, Josep Maria Goñi, said that they are studying criminal charges filed against the Generalitat, Barcelona City Council and the AMB. "It is unreasonable, you can not approve things that may not be viable and are illegal," he said, convinced that they can win in court.
"We can not do more as workers, we have to meet, analyze the decree and see what challenges we can make, when it is published, starting on Thursday, it will be when we can do things," the spokesman for VTC drivers added in a similar vein. Cabify representative, Carlos Segarra.
To the judicial threats are added the warnings that dozens of companies will have to stop operating in Catalonia and that therefore up to 4,000 workers can lose their jobs. Unauto, who at the end of the week will also give more details about the sequels of the controversial decree-law, advanced yesterday that at least three companies have already started the procedures to formalize an employment regulation file (ERE).
Among them, Vector Round would have done it, which could lay off about a thousand people by taking for granted the economic infeasibility of their business in the face of new working conditions. "We are forced to resolve the employment relationship of all our workers," noted a letter signed by this company along with Forever Tours Dream and Auto Andalucía Jaén Car Rental Tarragona.
Moove Cars, other of the affected ones that last week pointed out that it would have to dismiss 726 employees, is also waiting to read the decree. The same as Uber, whose spokesmen already said days ago that if the regulation of the fifteen minutes was successful they could not continue to provide their UberX service in Barcelona.
The decree-law will oblige VTCs to pre-contract their services at least fifteen minutes in advance in Catalonia, regulations that local and supra-municipal entities, such as the AMB, may extend up to one hour. The metropolitan entity, chaired by Ada Colau, has been working on an additional document for some time: if there are no unforeseen delays, the measure will be approved initially this February and will be final by the end of March, they assure ABC. The Catalan Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Damià Calvet, asked about the possible dismissals, was blunt: "we do not want to give in to the blackmail of the streets or the blackmail of the offices". Fomento del Trabajo considered that the conflict has been closed in false and demanded an agreement that makes compatible the rights of all.
The Generalitat folds to the demands of the taxi
Those affected will study new protests and will take legal action tomorrow Thursday
Users should contact the VTC driver at least fifteen minutes in advance. Now, local authorities may extend the deadline: in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, for example, the time will be reached.
The VTC can not circulate on the public highway looking for customers or encourage the hiring of those who have not pre-contracted their services.
To avoid searching for potential customers, VTCs will have to park in parking lots and garages when they do not do any service.
The Generalitat will authorize an electronic record of communication of services, in which the VTC will have to report each of its services in detail.