Spain court rules against Deliveroo in landmark case

A Spanish court has ruled that a Deliveroo rider should have been treated as an employee, and not as a self-employed contractor, in the first ruling over the rights of the online food group's staffers in the country.

Spain court rules against Deliveroo in landmark case
Photo: AFP

A court in the city of Valencia said it has concluded “there exists an employment relationship between the two parties” in the case of the rider who had worked for Deliveroo since October 2016 and was recently fired for “lack of availability”.

The court ordered he be reinstated or be paid €705.13 ($821.97) in compensation, according to the ruling dated June 1st which was made public Monday.

Online food platforms have boomed worldwide, allowing people to order from local restaurants via mobile phones, with dishes delivered to their homes or offices shortly afterwards, often by young bicycle couriers.

Companies like Deliveroo and other gig economy groups such as Uber are involved in legal battles in several countries over whether drivers should be classified as employees, which makes the firms responsible for paying minimum wages and making social benefit contributions. In Spain, another case is being fought in the courts in Barcelona.   

READ MORE:  Banished Uber back in Barcelona with licensed service 

Deliveroo said it would study the Valencia court's ruling “before deciding its next steps”.

“The case refers to a delivery man who had an older contract which does not reflect the existing method of cooperation between 'riders' and Deliveroo,” it added in a statement.

Deliveroo said the “self-employed” status of riders in its new contracts had been “confirmed” by courts across Europe.   

Local union Intersindical Valenciana, which had backed the rider in his court case, said the ruling was “very positive” and in line with a recent report by the Labour Inspectorate of Valencia calling for Deliveroo riders to  be considered employees.


Barcelona taxi drivers prepare legal battle against Uber and Cabify

A Barcelona-based association of taxi drivers on Thursday announced it would lodge a legal complaint against ride-hailing services Uber and Cabify for fraud and other offences.

Barcelona taxi drivers prepare legal battle against Uber and Cabify
Photo: AFP

In all the Elite Taxi group, which represents 2,000 drivers, will take on 11 firms and 15 individuals, as well as US-based Uber and Spanish company Cabify, according to Alberto Alvarez, spokesman for the association.   

The legal complaint, to be lodged in Madrid next week, is just the latest attempt by registered taxi drivers in several countries to stop potential customers using the new, less regulated, services which they believe provide unfair competition.

The accusations will include fraud but also money-laundering, tax infringements and flouting workers' rights.   

Rideshare companies maintain that drivers are able to thrive and maintain work flexibility, and that their business model would not work if drivers were treated as wage-based employees.

In late 2017, the Elite Taxi association obtained a judicial victory when the European Court of Justice ruled that Uber is an ordinary transportation company instead of just an online app and should be regulated as such.   

Last year Spanish taxi drivers went on strike for several days, calling in the authorities to restrain the activities of the ride-hailing operators.   

In several Spanish cities, including  Valencia and Barcelona, new rules have been adopted including requiring customers of ride-hailing services to book a ride at least 15 minutes in advance.

READ MORE: Uber and Cabify suspend services in Barcelona in row over new regulations