The Supreme Court Declares Glovo’s ‘Riders’ False Self-Employed

The high court concludes a judicial process that determines that the platform’s distributors must act as salaried employees Glovo confirms  that it will continue to operate in Spain despite the Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Glovo dealers act as false freelancers. The high court thus culminates a judicial process that determines that the ‘riders’ of the platform must act as wage earners and opens the door for Glovo to have to pay millionaire requirements to Social Security in terms of unpaid fees. This is how the Supreme Court has advanced its criteria this Wednesday in a note, which gives the final blow to the labor model of distribution on digital platforms in Spain based on autonomous ‘riders’ and under which firms such as Deliveroo or UberEats, among others, also operate.

The ruling of the high court has been known at the gates of the new regulations prepared by the Ministry of Labor to make more explicit that labor relationship that the Supreme Court has ruled. “Glovo respects the Supreme Court ruling and awaits the definition of an adequate regulatory framework by the Government and Europe,” the company replied in a statement. “Glovo firmly believes that this regulation should be promoted based on dialogue between all stakeholders,” he insisted

More than 7,000 distributors work – according to the criteria established by the Supreme Court – for Glovo throughout Spain; being this firm the largest native digital delivery company. In 2018 it controlled between 30% and 40% of the market share of ‘online’ orders; behind Just Eat, which operates in a different subcontracting model, and which has been operating in Spain for 10 years.

Well, one of the keys to Glovo’s self-employed model so far, but which Deliveroo or UberEats share in a very similar way, is the lower cost that the company must bear for the delivery people. In a salaried model, the company should assume a higher cost in Social Security, to provide the ‘riders’ with issues such as the right to unemployment, paid vacations, courses on prevention of occupational risks; among others. According to a UGT report, digital platforms in Spain stop paying 168 million euros a year with this work model.

The Supreme Court considers it proven that Glovo “is not a mere intermediary in the contracting of services between businesses and distributors” and that the company “establishes the essential conditions for the provision of said service.” In other words, the business organization arranged by Glovo subordinates its distributors, who are not free to decide when and how they provide their services. The algorithm acts as a boss.

The ruling advanced by the Supreme Court resolves one of the two cases that were pending appeal so far. The ruling known this Wednesday on Glovo scales from the case of a delivery man who lost his trial in the first instance and in the Superior of Justice of Madrid. Being the only case, to date, of a Superior of Justice who had spoken out against the employment of the ‘riders’. Finally, the Supreme Court has agreed  and thus begins to establish doctrine, serving this reference ruling for any trial that is in process or begins from now on. However, until there are two rulings, the Supreme Court cannot be considered to have established doctrine.



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