Social security wins macro-lawsuit against Deliveroo: ‘cavaliers’ acted like bogus freelancers
Barcelona court approves action by labor inspectorate which demanded € 1.3 million in unpaid contributions from Deliveroo
BY RRHHDigital, 12:09 – 14 January 2021
“The freedom of the delivery man not to be available is not as wide as one would like, because in the event of rejection of orders, minimum orders are not guaranteed and even their services may be withdrawn.” This is one of the arguments presented. by the social court number 21 of Barcelona to conclude that the 748 Deliveroo distributors acted as “false autonomous”.
As a result, the decision published this Tuesday on the biggest lawsuit against delivery platforms organized to date in Spain, requires Deliveroo to register Barcelona delivery drivers with social security and, in addition, the company will have to pay 1.3 million euros to the public body for unpaid social contributions.
There are various elements that, on this occasion, the judge considers to be proven to determine the existence of the employment relationship.
The schedules. Both the hours and the availability of the worker are the responsibility of the company. Means of transport. According to the company’s defense argument, delivery people used their own means of transport (bicycles, skates or motorcycles) and their own cell phones to handle orders coming to them from the company. An argument that was not accepted by the social court n ° 21 of Barcelona, which considers these elements “unimportant” given the organizational and media structure behind the distributors. “The provision of the vehicle, although it is information of interest, cannot simply become a determinant of the non-existence of an employment relationship.” The existence of a salaried staff. Another of the prosecution’s main arguments is that there was a salaried workforce at Deliveroo providing services to bogus self-employed. In addition, it was the company that unilaterally fixed the prices of the services, thus being the intermediary that invoiced the service offered by the worker. According to the ruling, “distributors were incardinated in the sphere of governance, organization and management of Roofoods”. Likewise, we note that Deliveroo, through the company Roofods Spain, carried the relationship with its distributors through the signing of various “service rental contracts” which offered the false appearance of a self-employed worker.
Deliveroo, through an official statement, announced that it would appeal the sentence to the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, a strategy it has already pursued on previous occasions with similar cases. “The decision does not reflect the form of collaboration of the riders with the company and refers to an old model which does not affect the current riders. If the couriers were reclassified as “employees”, the activity would be so affected that we would have to review key factors such as the number of passengers or the number of cities in which we can operate, ”they underline in the statement.
Macro-test “ runners ” in Spain
The judgment comes two years after the complaint and at a time when the government is seeking, with social agents, the drafting of the future labor law on digital platforms. In 2019, the Labor Inspectorate began its procedure after the complaints lodged by Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya and the RidersxDerechos platform with the advice of the Collectiu Ronda. This act, drawn up in Barcelona, was the first to question the working model of the economy of these companies and, since then, other platforms like Glovo have suffered similar blows from the courts.
After this final decision, two other macro-trials are still ongoing in Barcelona. One of them concerns 114 distributors of the Stuart platform; the other concerns more than 1,000 Glovo distributors. Both take place next July.
Meanwhile, in Madrid, the labor inspectorate has another ongoing macro-trial that affects 542 Deliveroo distributors in that city. A trial that will be decided by the Supreme Court in the coming weeks, after two failed convictions.