September 25, 2020

The ‘Rider Labor Law’ against false self-employed is delayed amid pressure from Calviño’s economic vice presidency


The law that aims to combat false self-employed on digital platforms such as Glovo and Deliveroo is behind schedule and, according to several sources consulted, the “pressures” and reluctance to regulate Nadia Calviño’s economic vice presidency partly explain the delay. The Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, intended bring the new legislation on digital platforms to the Council of Ministers before August, as explained in their team to elDiario.es, but the schedule has been delayed: the draft of the draft work is not yet ready and, once the text is presented, it will be subjected to social dialogue with unions and employers, so the August goal already seems impossible. “There is great pressure from lobbies of digital platforms and a part of the Government is pressing for everything to remain more or less the same, “says Gonzalo Pino, UGT confederal secretary for Union Policy.

The cleaning 'riders': precarious, without a contract and carrying their own bleach

The cleaning ‘riders’: precarious, without a contract and carrying their own bleach

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Those pressures within the Executive, says Pino, come from the Vice Presidency for Economic Affairs, “but also from Moncloa, where there are people with a very neoliberal vision of the future of work through digitization.” The person in charge of the UGT explains that “in the Government there are two souls at the moment: one part that sees clearly that the platform workers are labor workers and another that is pushing for everything to continue more or less the same.” The interventions of the economic vice-presidency to stop rapid legislation on the matter are confirmed by sources in the sector, since they ensure that Calviño’s team fears that Labor regulation affects many other sectors that use digital platforms and limit their expansion in the future.

Job sources reply to elDiario.es that “the Ministry continues to work on this legislative proposal, since it is urgent to address the issue of riders as included in the Progress Report 2020 “, which Vice President Pablo Iglesias presented, and they add that they are working “together” with the Economy. In Labor they no longer rule on the time frame in which the legislation will go forward, but they insist that Yolanda Díaz’s team is working on the text of the draft and that it will later be submitted to social dialogue with the unions and employers.

In the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation that Calviño leads, they did not want to comment on these presumed pressures to delay and limit the scope of the regulations prepared by Trabajo.

The ‘riders’, in the focus of the false self-employed

From the beginning of his term, the Minister of Labor announced that it would legislate work on digital platforms to combat self-employed workers, especially to avoid this labor abuse that affects the so-called ‘riders’ or distributors of digital platforms of companies such as Glovo, Deliveroo and Uber Eats. The self-employed model of these companies has already been the subject of numerous infringement acts of the Labor Inspectorate and the vast majority of the courts conclude that the couriers are false self-employed and that they should be hired, so that they would have the protection and the rights of salaried persons. This same week it has been established again by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, which has confirmed a labor sentence that affects ten Deliveroo distributors who denounced the multinational through Colectivo Ronda.

In the harshest moments of the pandemic, home delivery was considered essential and the couriers continued to work, as well as leading protests, since Glovo cut the fixed price it pays per order in half in the midst of a health emergency. Labor Minister Yolanda Díaz resumed her legislative agenda and met on June 1 with the group of former RidersxDerechos, with whom she promised to pass the draft bill that would strengthen their status as workers.

Work started at the same time the procedures to carry out this regulation and that of remote work. However, while the draft of the preliminary draft on telework is already known and is being negotiated at the dialogue table with employers and workers’ representatives, with a view to trying to approve it in the Council of Ministers in the coming weeks, there is no news yet of the text that many call ‘Rider Law’.

Regulation is limited to home delivery

The internal debate in the government on legislation reaches several questions. On the one hand, the discussion on the employment of workers, that is, how this labor relationship between digital platforms and the employees defended by Labor will be established in the norm and that in Economics generates more doubts, since they consider that there are Flexible relationships that can fit into autonomy, indicate sources in the sector to this medium.

But there is also controversy due to a question of scope: who is the standard aimed at, if it reaches all digital platforms, which can provide very different services in different sectors or if it only addresses the specific situation of ‘riders’. It must be remembered that the portfolio that Calviño directs is of Economic Affairs, but also “of Digital Transformation”, so they are quite cautious about limiting the expansion of digital companies in the Spanish economy.

In the mandatory public consultation that Work opened for the preparation of the draft law, the Ministry refers to the legislative project “on certain aspects of the provision of work for own and others through platforms”, and the objective is mentioned in general to “ensure the labor protection of workers on digital platforms”. However, the sources consulted point out that the text prepared by Trabajo seems to finally only focus on home delivery. That is, in the ‘riders’.

In UGT, a union with several court victories against these digital companies, they oppose legislation focused exclusively on ‘riders’. “If the law speaks only of distribution, not of all sectors of digital platforms, it will be a law that is born lame, no, dead,” says Gonzalo Pino, who recalls that the system of digital platforms is spreading to many other sectors, like dependency, cleaning and home care. According a study for the European Commission last yearSpain was the EU country with the most platform workers, 12.5% ​​who had ever worked for any of these digital companies.

Carlos Gutiérrez, secretary of Youth and New Realities of Work of CCOO, also opposes a regulation that only addresses false self-employed people in the delivery of food at home, “although their employment is unavoidable, knowing that this practice extends for other sectors and business models “and asks the Ministry of Labor to be” ambitious “, he expressed in a recent article on Infolibre. Gutiérrez frames the most visible labor problem of the ‘riders’, who flood the streets of large cities, in a much broader trend of commodification of work by the hand of some companies that use digital media, so that companies try to get rid of the labor relationship and to relate to the workers (now collaborators) through commercial contracts, under the premise that they have “free decision-making capacity” and that the company “has no responsibility” over them.

The head of the CCOO defends that this framework of freedom and autonomy is not truthful: “The majority of the social workers are necessarily subordinate to the management of companies and, therefore, our will continues to be governed by imperatives that are outside of it and that constitute the raison d’être of wage labor. ”

Digital platforms for home delivery of food focus all their attention on the new regulation, which will mark their future and in some cases their survival, but not only, with the employers of the group of digital companies (Adigital) also very pending of the negotiations. . “The battle is going to be very strong,” insists Gonzalo Pino, who stresses that the union “prefers not to run” to come up with the best possible legislation, to push through a rule quickly that is not as ambitious as they expect.

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