After initial doubts about its
effectiveness, the "Ley Rider" (see our last year's news) has now brought movement to the working conditions of
platform workers after all.
After several reports from the labour
inspectorate and contradictory rulings from the lower courts, the Supreme Court
in Spain ruled in September 2020 that platform workers were employees and not
self-employed. Therefore, general labour and social security laws would have to
apply to them.
This ruling was followed by a process of
social dialogue which then led to the approval of Law 12/2021 (better known as
the "Ley Rider"). This presupposes an employment contract between the
employee and the platform since the former is in fact subject to decisions
resulting from the algorithm of the latter. The law is less ground-breaking in
its content - the presumption of an employment contract had already been
established in California - than in its formation: namely, through an agreement
between representative trade union federations and employer associations in
...with tangible results
The EU followed Spain's path: the
presumption of an employment contract between the employee and the platform is
also the path chosen in the European Commission's proposed directive published
last month. And now, the long journey in Spain has culminated in the signing of
the first collective agreement between the delivery platform Just Eat and two
major trade union federations.
This is at least a first step toward
normalising platform work within the labour market there. Wages, working hours
and general conditions are regulated for those employed on platforms. A fixed
minimum wage is just as much a part of the contracts as night bonuses or
entitlement to vacation and part-time employment. Furthermore, a maximum daily
working time and two weekly rest days are envisaged. The necessary work
equipment such as smartphone or any required protective clothing must be
provided by the employer.
Human monitoring of the algorithms
Finally, the platform undertakes to respect
the privacy policies in force and to inform employees at all times about the
algorithm it uses to manage its work. A so-called "Algorithm
Committee" which lays down the obligation for transparency and a final
human decision when using algorithms is to be formed for monitoring purposes.
Spain as a role model
It is to be hoped that the other Member
States, with the involvement of the social partners concerned, will follow
Spain's example. In any case, a first step has been taken.