Riders x Derechos (Riders for Rights)
Riders x Derechos was founded by a group of food delivery riders in Spain to negotiate better working conditions with the respective platforms.
In Spain, food delivery riders, notably those affiliated to Deliveroo, established a Facebook group ‘Riders x Derechos’ (Riders for Rights), to negotiate better working conditions with the respective platforms, including a change of the employment status from self-employed to employee. They have also set up the ‘National Association of Bike Courier Services’ (‘Asociación Nacional de Ciclomensajería’), which tries to support and offer useful information for delivery riders in regard to taxation and accident insurance.
During the summer of 2017, Riders x Derechos organised several strikes that were answered with repressions and dismissals. For example, in July 2017, under the coordination of Riders x Derechos, hundreds of Deliveroo riders went on strike in Madrid and Barcelona to demand a decent salary (at least two deliveries per hour to reduce salary uncertainty) and a minimum working time of 20 hours per week. Detailed information of this strike can be found in the following record of Deliveroo strike Spain.
In 2018, the group joined forces with Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya (IAC), a Catalan trade union organisation with a presence in the sectors of education, health and public administrations, to demand from the labour inspectorate changes to the conditions of ‘false self-employed’ workers. The group gained media attention when in early 2019 a worker from the Glovo delivery platform died in a bike accident. Riders x Derechos and other Glovo workers claim that Glovo is not making enough efforts to guarantee the safety of its workers.
In May 2018, Riders x Derechos launched a crowdfunding campaign to support the delivery service app of Mensakas. Mensakas is a delivery cooperative established by IAC and a group of riders from Deliveroo, Glovo and Uber Eats, who also created Riders x Derechos. Mensakas aims to create dignified working conditions for riders, to provide employment contracts and to develop an ecological and sustainable delivery service. To achieve its goals and to increase international alliance with riders, Mensakas has collaborated with CoopCyle, the French cooperative which operates in another 16 European countries. More information on CoopCyle can be found here.
Meanwhile, to increase their presence in various social media platforms, the group has developed a diversified communication strategy which aims to establish alliances with riders from other platforms, as well as from other cities and countries.
In April 2019, the group organised a two-day conference named ‘My boss is not an algorithm’, which discussed issues related to the global riders’ struggle against delivery platforms, challenges faced by cooperatives in the platform economy, as well as the possible cooperation among riders at both local and international level.
- The algorithm is not my boss anymore: technological appropriation and (new) media strategies in Riders x Derechos and Mensakas
In June 2020, Riders x Derechos promoted a manifesto in support of the claims of effective recognition of the status of false self-employed platform workers. The manifesto was signed, among others, by trade union CCOO (Trade Union Confederation of Workers' Commissions, Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras), UATAE (Union of Associations of Self-employed Workers and Entrepreneurs, Unión de Asociaciones de Trabajadores Autónomos y Emprendedores), FACUA-Consumers in Action (FACUA- Consumidores en Acción), CGT (General Confederation of Labour, Confédération Générale du Travail), COAG (Coordinator of Farmers' and Stockbreeders' Organisations, Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos), and Las Kellys Barcelona.
On 4 December 2020, Riders x Derechos attended a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Agenda 2030, highlighting their position regarding Riders’ law, a new labour regulation of false self-employed workers and digital platforms. Riders x Derechos claimed that the new legislative framework governing the work of digital platform workers should include a registry of platforms and their algorithms that organise the platform work. Riders x Derechos also insisted that the regulation shall apply to all digital platforms rather than being limited to riders. This is supported by UGT (Workers’ General Union, Unión General de Trabajadores) and CCOO, which were also present at the social dialogue table. Both UGT and CCOO threatened to block the negotiation if the government does not agree with the registration of all digital platforms and their algorithms. More information of Riders’ law can be found here.
In February 2021, the initiative expressed its objection to the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations’ (CEOE) proposal within the framework of the Social Dialogue Table. The employer organisation was in favour of altering the legal framework based on the model of the Californian Fair Food Delivery Act of 2020, which gives more freedom to platforms. Riders x Derechos demands a stronger focus on the working conditions of platform workers (for more information see here).
On 27 October 2021, Riders x Derechos took part in a meeting with the EU Employment Commissioner Nicolas Schmit along with other stakeholders. The consultation preceded the publishing of the proposed Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on improving working conditions in platform work. Riders x Derechos appreciate the opportunity to join discussions and are largely in favour of the directive. In particular, the initiative is in favour of the obligation of the platform companies to provide information about the use of algorithmic management. However, in relation to the definition of employment relationship, they criticise that the presumption of employment is based on a closed list of five points (which they think should be an open list instead) and that a minimum of two points need to be fulfilled to classify as employment (in this case, the activists find that one point should be enough). The critique is related to the argument that a closed list of criteria for employment is prone to being circumvented by platform companies as it might be prone to loopholes. Furthermore, Riders x Derechos as argue that consideration should be given to:
- The loss of jobs because not all current workers will be offered employment contracts
- The continuation of subcontracting, which limits labour rights
- The need to also address the problems of platform workers in sectors other than (food) delivery services (cleaners, translators, etc.)
- Lack of transparency with respect to work control
- Ensuring the prosecution of fraudulent companies
- The exploitation of undocumented migrants by platform companies.
- More than fifty social and collective organizations demand that the law end the exploitation of false self-employed by digital platforms (Más de medio centenar de organizaciones sociales y colectivos exigen que la ley termine con la explotación de falsos autónomos por las plataformas digitales)
- Riders require a registration of platforms (Els riders exigeixen un registre de plataformes)
- Riders X Derechos claims to include the registry of platforms and their algorithms to the government's draft and is opposed to the regulation focusing only on riders after the supreme has already ruled on the matter (Riders X Derechos reclama incluir el registro de plataformas y sus algoritmos al borrador del gobierno y se muestra contrario a que la regulación se centre únicamente en los riders después que el supremo ya se haya pronunciado al respecto)
- Riders X Derechos takes a position in a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Agenda 2030 (Riders X Derechos se posiciona en reunión con representantes del Ministerio de trabajo y Agenda 2030)
- Negotiation of working conditions, Organising and representing workers
- On-location platform-determined routine work
- algorithm, autonomy and control, employment status, industrial action, platform cooperatives, representation, industrial relations, social dialogue, social protection
- English, Spanish