In Spain, how delivery platforms try to circumvent the law

There are those who outsource to transport and logistics companies the hiring of door-to-door delivery men (like Uber Eats), those who tinker with app settings in an attempt to erase any salary-type relationship with their couriers ( Glovo), those who give up (Deliveroo). But there are also those who play the game and hire their couriers (Just Eat). Five months after the approval of the “riders” law in Spain, a pioneering text supposed to oblige digital platforms to pay their delivery men, and two and a half months after its entry into force, on August 12, the various players are trying to find the parade.

“The law is a useful tool to regulate the sector. And, even if it is not completely effective, delivery people with a status of autoentrepreneur are today a minority ”, assures Carlos Gutierrez, spokesperson for youth and new realities of work for the union Workers’ Commissions (CCOO). For him, the benefits of the text are obvious. “The new delivery platforms which have decided to set up in Spain since its approval, such as Rocket, pay delivery men, he recalls. As for the others, most of them are trying to get around the law, but we are in the process of filing a complaint. The issue of couriers is only the tip of the iceberg of the uberization of work and it is essential to organize new activities and preserve labor rights. ”

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Deliveroo preferred to throw in the towel and abandon a dynamic market (nearly 4.7 million customers in 2019 having completed 36 million orders). “What is important is that, within the framework of the collective dismissal negotiation, it will recognize the validity of the law and, therefore, the employee status of the riders before dismissing them”, specifies Mr. Gutierrez. Nearly 3,800 couriers are affected.

Social benefits

For now, the big winners of the new Spanish legislation seem to be transport and logistics companies, such as Deelivers. This Galician start-up, launched in 2014, plans to triple its results this year and achieve 12 million euros in turnover. Chosen in particular by Uber Eats to employ its former independent delivery men, which it disconnected from its platform in August, it recruits with all their efforts and already has nearly 1,400 delivery men, against just 600 before the law.

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To attract candidates, who “Start to run out”, according to its CEO, Adrian Pena, she touts her “unique conditions” of employment on her website: flexible hours, thirty-one days of vacation per year, social benefits after one year, a fixed hourly wage and bonuses, no work on her birthday… To decide the reluctant ones, she even prepared answers to standard questions, such as: “My friend is self-employed and he can work when he wants” Where “My friend earns more by working as a self-employed person”. A sign that becoming an employee of a subcontracting company does not convince all delivery people. « Especially those who worked for several platforms and could do sixty hours a week ”, recognizes Mr. Pena.

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In Spain, how delivery platforms try to circumvent the law