Spain: bike couriers are not freelancers

In Spain, the Supreme Court in Madrid has ruled that bicycle couriers working for online delivery services are employees, not freelancers. It thus upheld the lawsuit brought by Madrid-based plaintiff Isaac Cuende against his employer, courier service Glovo. Is this the end of precarious working conditions at Spain's delivery services?

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El País (ES) /

Put an end to precarious working conditions

The government must finally establish clear rules for working conditions, El País argues:

“The court's decision should suffice to finally end the debate about the employment status of people who work for these platforms. The Ministry of Labour should use the decision, which is not binding but has a unifying effect regarding the judicial doctrine that applies to these platforms, to put an end to the conflicting rulings and fulfil its promise to propose a regulation to companies and trade unions. Glovo has already stated that it is waiting for the new regulations, and there is no reason to postpone a solution to the precarious working conditions of the couriers any longer.”

El Economista (ES) /

Don't smother the delivery service industry

The business paper El Economista, however, advocates a flexible solution:

“The ruling is a challenge for the home delivery industry. Without doubt, the decision must be accepted, but this obligation should not prevent a debate about the extent to which these jobs are compatible with full employment. A problem as complex as this one does not allow for quick solutions. ... The government could look for new ways to give these companies more flexibility if, after the open debate in society and even within its own ranks (where there are clear discrepancies), this is considered necessary to preserve this service which is now in such high demand.”