An interesting story from Spain could have far reaching consequences for the Gig Economy. The story centres around the Spanish Supreme Court ruling that food delivery riders & drivers are employed, and not self-employed… Although the details of the Supreme Court sentence is still not known.
This ruling has the potential to cascade across governments, affecting many more gig economy workers.
The case was brought to court by a former worker for Glovo, the most popular food delivery service in Spain. “The relationship that exists between a rider and the Glovo business is of a professional nature,” said the Supreme Court.
This is the first Spanish Supreme Court ruling on the working relationship between food-delivery riders and gig economy platforms.
The “gig economy” is a term that refers to self-employed workers that work temporary, flexible jobs. Uber and Amazon are examples of companies creating successful businesses leveraging this type of flexible working.
The impact on the Gig Economy
The court ruled that Glovo was “not a mere intermediary” between restaurants and delivery riders, but instead “a business that fixes the conditions for the provision of its services, and owns the assets essential to carrying out its services,” the court said. These “assets” include the mobile phone application, which riders must have if they are to find work.
The ruling is crucial for two reasons: on one hand it coincides with the ongoing controversy over the contradictory sentences on riders’ working status, and on the other, amid government regulation plans for the sector.
Recently, gig economy workers on Glovo have been demanding recognition as salaried staff and petitioning for benefits such as sick leave and paid holidays.
Glovo said in a statement it respected the court’s ruling, but expected the government and the European Union to set up a regulatory framework. “Glovo firmly believes this regulation must be promoted based on dialogue between all actors involved,” the statement said.