Spain’s rule protecting riders from gig economy leads to labor shortages, says Uber

MADRID, March 8 (Reuters) – A Spanish law passed last year requires food delivery companies to hire their couriers as staff have caused a labor shortage as many prefer to stay self-employed and work for competitors flouting regulations, Uber Eats said on Tuesday.

The Spanish arm of Uber’s online food delivery platform (UBER.N) published an open letter to the Labor Department on Tuesday complaining that the contracts it offered to self-employed ‘riders’ did not retain enough of them. to provide its services.

“Our employee fleets are not finding enough couriers because they prefer to be independent to work with Glovo, … the only company that allows it, against Rider Law,” Uber Eats said, referring to the May decree. 2021. demanding companies grant formal employment contracts to protect workers in the gig economy.

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A spokesperson for Glovo said the company, which was taken over by Germany’s Delivery Heros (DHER.DE), did not break any laws and said it had taken steps to ensure that she complied.

The Uber Eats letter fuels a European controversy over the legal status of the thousands of cyclists who zip through city centers with oversized branded backpacks, and who generally lack benefits such as minimum wage, paid holidays and rights retired.

The European Commission in December recommended that other EU countries follow Spain’s example, a move that unions said was long overdue but which companies said could lead to job losses.

The Department of Labor said it required all platforms to comply with the new law. “The majority of digital platforms comply with this rule,” the ministry said, without mentioning the names of companies that did not comply with the rules.

The Spanish decree, backed by trade unions and professional associations, was greeted with skepticism by several riders’ associations and labor experts who said the new legislation did not fully resolve the legal situation for couriers.

Uber Eats said couriers preferred the flexibility to focus on the lucrative peak hours they enjoy as freelancers than the best social protection work contracts on offer, but which also came with the obligation to work at other less lucrative times.

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Reporting by Christina Thykjaer, editing by Inti Landauro and Edmund Blair

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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