gig workers are competing with far right in spain’s elections
Sumar and the center-left PSOE are running against Vox, a new far-right party whose vehement anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric—including a promise to expel all undocumented migrants—has seen its support soar in recent years. Also running is the Popular Party, the traditional party of Spain’s right wing. Many riders will be concerned about that threat because, despite the lack of official statistics, many riders believe that more than half of all food deliveries in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain’s two largest cities, are made by couriers who do not have the legal right to work.
If elected, Vox has pledged to repeal the Riders Law.
Gaviria, a representative for Repartidores Unidos, recently took part in a documentary-style interview with Santiago Abascal, the head of Vox. Gaviria claims that Repartidores Unidos is politically apolitical but admits that he is backing Vox in this contest. The UGT member Garca has shared the stage with Dáz at Sumar gatherings.
Pre-election polls are extremely close, but they slightly favor a right-wing coalition government led by PP-Vox. The riders’ rights wouldn’t be immediately eliminated if that were to occur and the Riders Law were repealed.
The 2020 Supreme Court ruling would still be enforceable in court. The Labour Inspectorate can pursue any cases that fall within its legal purview because it is conceptually independent of the government. The determination of which cases are significant, however, is subject to government regulation. According to Todol, “The new government may decide not to give the platform economy a top priority.” “That is most definitely a possibility.”
Glovo and Uber Eats’ positions would unquestionably be strengthened if that occurred. According to Giles Thorne, head of European internet research at the investment advisory firm Jeffries, a change in government “can work in Glovo’s favor.” “Glovo will be ecstatic about Yolanda Dáz’s conclusion.”
The outcome of the election on July 23 might affect platform work outside of Spain. A comprehensive law that seeks to regulate all work on digital labor platforms, not just riding, across all 27 EU member states is being finalized by the EU. This is known as the Platform Work Directive. The directive is nearing the end of a protracted journey through the EU institutions, where employment status has been the subject of bitter controversy. It just so happens that Spain is currently leading the EU Council, the body that represents EU member states, during its rotating presidency. Therefore, Spain is in charge of negotiating with the European Parliament on behalf of the council regarding the Platform Work Directive.
On July 11, negotiations formally started, and they are anticipated to be very challenging. The presidency will change from being one of the most supportive of platform workers’ employment rights to one of the most hostile if the Spanish government changes later in the month.
Whatever decisions are made in Brussels will impact the entire world because the European Union will be the first significant economic bloc to have comprehensive platform work regulations. The fractured political landscape in Spain may end up having a significant impact on how platform work develops far beyond its borders.
Riders attempting to survive a heat wave may feel a long way from the EU’s deliberations over the finer points of employment law. However, a set of rights that are derived from employment status are very useful in the context of extreme heat: If you take more breaks from the sun, will you still be paid? If you become ill from heat exposure, will you be paid for your time off? Is your employer legally liable for your health while working?
In May, the Spanish government passed a new law that forbids outdoor workers from going to work while there is a formal weather warning alert in effect. Although the law applies to riders in Spain, it does not apply to independent contractors working for Glovo and Uber Eats.
Because we are employees, we have an occupational risk assessment, says Garca of those at his Glovo Market grocery warehouse. However, the algorithm doesn’t care if you are suffering from the heat because 80% of Glovo riders are not.