New Spanish law to make food delivery workers ‘permanent staff’

The legal initiative was prompted by a recent decision of the Spanish Supreme Court, which on 29 September 2020,  ruled that a delivery worker employed by Glovo should be considered a staff member and not self-employed. [EFE/ Marta Pérez]

Spain’s labour ministry, trade unions, and employer’s associations have agreed this week in principle to a law improving the rights of food delivery workers employed by global digital platforms like Deliveroo, granting them the status of “permanent staff” instead of self-employed. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reports.

The new legislation aims at improving the working conditions of food delivery workers, which is currently characterised by low salaries, long working hours, and reduced labour rights.

Spain’s labour ministry, trade unions, and employer’s associations have agreed this week in principle to change the relation these workers have with employers like Deliveroo, Glovo, or Uber Eats. The text would concern the delivery sector more generally, covering the delivery of food and other products.

Based on the text sealed by all parties concerned, the future law would first need to overcome the hurdle of the Spanish parliament.

The legal initiative was prompted by a recent decision of the Spanish Supreme Court, which ruled on 29 September 2020 that a delivery worker employed by Glovo should be considered a staff member and not self-employed.

Spain’s two main trade unions, Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO) and the Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT), applauded the change of “mentality” recognising that precarious workers should benefit from an improved labour status.

However, CC.OO’s secretary general Unai Sordo, suggested a change not only in the legislation for food delivery workers, and demanded to extend the initiative to workers hired by all digital platforms.

Sources close to the negotiations pointed out that it is highly probable that changes to the current labour legislation will be limited to delivery workers in the food sector only, Spains’ finance newspaper Cinco Días reported on Thursday.

However, not all delivery workers are in favour of the proposal as some want to remain self-employed and be free to decide for whom and when to work. Those who oppose the initiative would like to meet with Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz and discuss alternatives.

“It is a law that bears our name but that, as incredible as it may seem, the government is negotiating without taking us into account, and without listening to us”, AAR and APRA, two of Spain’s biggest associations of delivery workers, lamented.

[Edited by Daniel Eck and Frédéric Simon]

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