The National Court has dismissed the lawsuit filed by UGT against Glovo and two directors of the delivery company for violation of freedom of association. The magistrates consider that the meetings held by video call with the distributors in November 2020, in which they were encouraged to protest against the Rider Law and to join similar self-employed associations, are part of the freedom of assembly and expression, without appreciating “any action qualifying as anti-union”.
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UGT filed the lawsuit last February considering that these telematic meetings, held on November 19 and 20, 2020 by the co-founder of Glovo Sacha Michaud and the head of public affairs of the firm, Miguel Ferrer, with some 400 distributors, violated the right to freedom of association.
In its complaint, the union pointed out that the Organic Law on Freedom of Association expressly recognizes in its article 13 as infringements of this fundamental right “acts of interference consisting in promoting the constitution of unions dominated or controlled by an employer or a business association, or in supporting economically or in another way unions with the same control purpose “.
The union denounced that Glovo had carried out “an anti-union business interference by placing the distributors in front of the unions, and specifically against the UGT, questioning that our union defends their rights as workers” and also “encouraging them to organize outside the union, to through other associations, specifically self-employed who expressly cite in their speeches “, such as APRA, Asoriders and AAR.
Legitimate expressions and within the freedom of assembly
The National Court examines the case, in which Glovo acknowledges that these meetings existed, in which it emphasizes that “there were no demonstrations against any union or promoted their affiliation to any type of organization.”
In one of the video calls, attended by this medium, Glovo executives limited themselves to saying that the unions and employers that were debating the Rider Law were not really listening to the distributors nor did they understand the sector. Michaud and Ferrer directly encouraged to mobilize against the legislation prepared by the Ministry of Labor and gave as an example some associations related to companies, to which interested parties could join.
“There are several groups that have been formed in this debate. Talk to them, talk to the one that suits you best, if you want to participate in the debate. The more you are, the more you are listened to, the more attention they will pay you, because you are the most important part of this debate, “said Michaud. Ferrer mentioned several of these associations, such as Asoriders, AAR and APRA.
The Hearing explains that no legal norm prevents the employer from meeting with his employees, with whom they voluntarily decided to connect electronically, especially when there is no evidence that any of them were forced to attend. The magistrates recall that there is no legal norm that prevents these meetings from having as their objective the expression on their part of their opinion, undoubtedly interested, that the relationship between the distributors and the platform is not of a labor nature but of a civil nature.
“No legal norm prevents the employer from trying to convince the distributors of his position in those meetings and even that it was more beneficial for them. Nor would any legal norm have prevented UGT from meeting with the company’s distributors to express their position to them. on the controversy, deciding in favor of a contractual employment relationship. Nor would it have prevented UGT from promoting their union membership in those meetings, “the Chamber indicates.
Therefore, the call for the meetings that GLOVO held on November 19 and 20, 2020 with its distributors “find legal shelter in the right of assembly”, article 21.1 of the Spanish Constitution and, in addition, what is stated in them tried to consider it within freedom of expression. Article 20.1.a) CE. “The businessman did not have an anti-union will,” they conclude.
For the judges, from the actions of trying to choose the distributors in favor of a non-labor relationship and inviting them to adopt collective measures or to join existing self-employed associations “it does not follow that the employer intervened with an anti-union will and less with the intention of harming the plaintiff UGT ”.
“As has been indicated, the objective of the meetings was not for the distributors to join a union promoted by the employer, nor to denounce the plaintiff UGT as such an organization in defense of the workers, nor to threaten the distributors if they signified in favor of the contractual labor relationship or their affiliation to UGT, but rather to try to convince them that maintaining a self-employed relationship with the platform was more beneficial than an employment relationship ”, he says. Therefore, “no action qualifying as anti-union is seen in this conduct,” says the sentence.