“You just need to have a car, an Android or IOS mobile phone and a few hours off,” Amazon promoted to attract delivery men who would distribute their packages with their own vehicles and without a work contract. The company called this service “Flex” and was sewn up with fines by the Labor Inspectorate until it withdrew this distribution method from Spain. This Thursday a Madrid Social Court has forced the multinational to recognize that 2,166 people who distributed their shipments under this modality were false self-employed workers and must compensate Social Security.
The Amazon method to circumvent the rider law: millions of packages delivered, no delivery man hired
“Amazon is a company that develops not only the logistics and transport operator activity, but also provides the delivery and courier service”, settles the magistrate of the Social Court number 14 of Madrid, thus knocking down the main thesis of the multinational to avoid hiring delivery men: “We are not a transport company”, their spokespersons have explained to elDiario.es on several occasions.
In the sentence, to which this medium has had access, the magistrate argues why she does not buy the vision of the multinational. It is Amazon “the one that assumes the competence to adopt all the decisions of the service, setting its conditions of execution and remuneration, and the circumstances of day, hour and time invested in the execution”, through “deliverers who lack business organization own and autonomous” to those who directed and coordinated through his app.
With this method, the distributors were “subject to quality and reliability assessments, that is, to the control of the company through the mechanisms established by the App, lacking the capacity to organize their work provision, being in any case subject to the organizational criteria of the company”, adds the sentence.
The resolution comes after the opening of an ex officio process by Social Security, which was joined as an interested party by both the UGT and the CCOO. “At UGT we continue fighting so that the rights of workers who provide services on digital platforms are respected, in such a way that their work is provided in minimum conditions of security and dignity, avoiding situations of labor exploitation that, unfortunately, are very common. frequently in these new business forms ”, celebrate from the union.
Amazon will appeal
Amazon has announced that it will appeal. “We respect the judicial decision, but we do not agree and we are going to file an appeal,” a spokesperson explained to elDiario.es. “At Amazon we are committed to creating opportunities in the communities in which we operate. We have spent years collaborating with an extensive network of delivery companies, including large courier companies and small and medium-sized delivery companies. Between 2018 and 2021, we also collaborated with some freelancers through the Amazon Flex program, which accounted for a small percentage of the packages delivered in Spain. This program has not operated in the country since April 2021 ”, he added.
After withdrawing the Flex service, the multinational established a new method based on sponsoring the creation of third-party delivery companies, which in practice only work for it. The Labor Inspectorate has already imposed fines on him, considering that his new method involves an illegal transfer of workers, since they use his computer systems and uniforms and vans with the Amazon logo. Despite the fines, the multinational has stated that it “does not consider” hiring delivery drivers.
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