October 28, 2020

“The company offered me money to leave it before the first trial, but not for a million euros”

In September 2015 Isaac Cuende was the first Glovo delivery man in Madrid, “the only one who was then with another colleague who was doing the afternoon”, and this Wednesday he has become the worker who has achieved the first sentence of the Supreme Court to a digital platform for its labor model. The magistrates of the Fourth Chamber of the High Court conclude that the relationship between the messengers (also called riders) is labor, not self-employed, on this first occasion that they have addressed a case of this type. “Upon seeing the news on the Internet, I have recognized the organic certainty that I had felt for a long time, that I was a worker, and despite the sentences against us we had, I knew it, because I have lived it in my flesh,” Cuende responds to elDiario.es a few hours after the news was known.

The Supreme Court concludes in its first sentence on a 'rider' who is a false autonomous

The Supreme Court concludes in its first sentence on a ‘rider’ who is a false autonomous

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The worker was at the start of the application in Madrid, after Glovo had already been operating in Barcelona for a while. “There was no one when they started here. It was me with another colleague in the afternoon. I’m an actor and sometimes I don’t have a job, so I saw the ad online and went. They told me how it worked, they made a selection and they caught me me in the morning and another boy in the afternoon. Apparently we were going to be autonomous, but as time went by, everything that had been explained to us at the beginning changed, “he says.

Originally, the idea seemed clear: he had to be registered as a self-employed person, bring his mobile phone and his bicycle and he could make deliveries and work whenever he wanted. “They tell you that and, of course, fucking good, but I quickly realized that this model couldn’t work. The first thing, when there were so few of us, was what happened to the orders if I didn’t work. Nobody delivered them,” he recalls . “That’s why they ended up assigning us shifts. I worked in the morning and it wasn’t the same anymore, I didn’t work when I wanted.”

Over time, the problems were other. They came with the competition, more people interested in working had heard of Glovo and had to “fight” to get hours of work. “Many people began to arrive. At first we were few and especially Spanish, but later many people joined and many came from outside countries where they were very bad, like Venezuela, and who accepted any situation because what they needed was to work. “explains Cuende.

“Glovo made the application much more complex, in a deceptive way, which made you connect by the nose. Why? Because if you did not work and click a button to be connected, you did not get enough requests. It was like a punishment” . This system reported by the former Glovo messenger has been changing over time but essentially has a mechanism for assessing the riders which assigns orders based on their “note”. Most notably, they have more options to work longer and at the best hours. The “invisible hand”, the algorithm that governs these scores, is designed by Glovo and obeys its interests, which is a means of control and organization of the activity, as the Catalan company has been reminded on several occasions by the Inspection of Work and several judges. The boss is not an ‘app’ in the abstract, the boss is Glovo.

Glovo made the application much more complex, in a deceptive way, that made you connect by the nose. Why? Because if you didn’t work and clicked a button to be connected, you wouldn’t get enough requests. It was like a punishment

Isaac Cuende explains that at the beginning he had a lot of relationship with Glovo’s “managers” and that he was a voice heard among the Madrid delivery people because of his seniority. “I complained many times, that this could not be so.” But an event exhausted his patience and he was inclined towards the judicial route. “I had an accident and they treated me badly. You were on the ground and what they were interested in was where the hamburger was to pick it up. Literally. I don’t know, a lack of humanity, of empathy … Someone who also started with you, I do not know, it seems to me of a brutal emotional pain, “he laments. By not working, he lowered his score and made it more difficult for him to work. Then he got sick with the flu and the same thing happened. Immersed in a loop where there was nothing left from the first “work when you want” talk.

The worker contacted the lawyer Luis Suárez Machota of SBO Abogados, who had already defended him in a case in the past. “I told him, Luis, let’s go to the end with these people, this can’t be. So we got down to work,” he remembers. And the relationship of Isaac Cuende returned to compose another chapter of “first times” with Glovo. The courier was the first worker to lose to the company in court. Glovo’s first victory against a judge With which the Catalan multinational founded by Oscar Pierre took heart of the validity of its business model, despite the fact that the Labor Inspectorate had already begun to conclude the existence of hiring fraud.

His case was also the first that gave Glovo a victory in a Superior Court of Justice (TSJ), with a divided court in a room in Madrid. Finally, The 17 magistrates of the Madrid Supreme Court issued criteria on Glovo and concluded that its distributors are false self-employed. Defeat after defeat, Isaac Cuende kept hoping that at some point a sentence would reflect his “truth.” “It could have happened that it did not happen, but I have always had hope that in the end we would win because it was very clear to me,” says the worker, who assures that the company offered him “about 5,000 or 8,000 euros” to leave everything buried in an agreement prejudicial before the first trial.

“The company offered me money before entering the first trial to leave it. I told them: ‘Not even if you give me a million euros. It is that no, you are very bad and you are doing something very bad,” he says. “There are colleagues who took the dough, but I was not going to do it. I denounced for my grandchildren, for all the workers and for myself, that we have lived with Glovo a contempt typical of the Middle Ages, a brutal lack of empathy,” he says.

The result of the sentence gives Isaac Cuende hope that the labor model can be imposed, although more due to the action of the Government than of the company itself, from which Cuende expects little. Its founder, Oscar Pierre, affirmed in November 2018 that, if the Supreme Court created jurisprudence and concluded that its messengers are workers, “It would be a chore, but we would adapt”. Now the company has referred in its statement to “the definition of an adequate regulatory framework by the Government and Europe.”

There are colleagues who took the money for not reporting, but I was not going to. I denounced for my grandchildren, for all the workers and for myself, that we have lived with Glovo a contempt typical of the Middle Ages, a brutal lack of empathy

The former Glovo messenger asks the Government for a high view in its announced law against false self-employed on digital platforms. For the moment, it seems that the regulations are going to be limited only to home delivery drivers, in the so-called ‘Rider Law’, something that does not convince Cuende. “I see that this is like politics now, very pragmatic and that they are not seeing the global. This is not only happening in the cast. I have a physical son who works as a freelance in a private hospital and has hours and to sign. This is a model that is being inoculated everywhere. That they take out the scalpel to legislate is that no. I do not believe that they are seeing this, because I even see it, it seems rather that they do not want to see it, “he criticizes.

What would you like this sentence to mean in Glovo? “I would like them to regulate the workers, to give them the value and importance they have within their union, to recognize that they are a fundamental piece of that business, of the activity they are doing. That they protect them legally as they have to. be: you have a worker who is giving you a benefit, you have to protect him. If not, you are not a businessman. You are a mercenary. ”


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