Spain slaps fresh fine on food delivery firm Glovo

Spain's labour ministry said Tuesday it has slapped app-based food delivery company Glovo with a new fine of €57 million for violating labour laws.

Spain slaps fresh fine on food delivery firm Glovo
Spain slaps fresh fine on food delivery firm Glovo. Photo: JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

Glovo, which belongs to German firm Delivery Hero, was fined for not giving its riders formal labour contracts as required under a 2021 law and for giving gigs to nearly 800 irregular immigrants without work permits, a ministry spokesman said.

Under the so-called Rider Law that came into effect in August 2021, couriers who deliver food, mostly on bicycles and motorcycles, must be recognised as employees instead of being considered self-employed freelancers as before.

It is the first European legislation that explicitly regulates the status of delivery workers, who get around on bikes and motorcycles and whose numbers have exploded in recent years, despite precarious working conditions.

“No company, no matter how big or small, should remain outside the law,” Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz told reporters.

Last year the labour ministry hit Glovo with a fine of €79 million for infringements of the Rider Law.

Glovo said it would appeal the latest fine. It argues the infringements cited by the labour ministry took place before the Rider Law came into force.

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Spain to raise minimum wage by 8 percent

Spain's government unveiled Tuesday an 8.0 percent rise in the minimum wage, despite the opposition of employer groups, in a context of high inflation and a key election year.

Spain to raise minimum wage by 8 percent

The announcement by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez comes just months before municipal polls in various regions and a general election which is due by the year’s end.

“We’re going to approve a new 8.0 percent increase in the minimum wage to reach €1,080” gross across 14 months, Sánchez told the Senate upper house of parliament.

Spain traditionally makes salary payments in 14 monthly payments per year, with the extra paychecks typically paid in July and December.

“We are respecting our commitment” to raise the minimum wage “to 60 percent of the average Spanish salary,” he said.

Split across 12 months, that would equate to a gross payment of €1,260.

Although the unions had been pushing for €1,100 over 14 months, they hailed the announcement.

“There will be some 2.5 million beneficiaries and it will have a greater impact on women, young people, those with temporary contracts or working in agriculture or the service sectors,” tweeted CCOO union boss Unai Sordo.

Talks on raising the minimum wage were boycotted by employers groups on grounds their concerns were not being taken into account.

“Let them just give us the figure and get it over with,” grumbled Antonio Garamendi, head of the CEOE business lobby in remarks to reporters.

The new increase in the minimum wage comes against a backdrop of high inflation, even though price hikes have slowed significantly in recent months.

Inflation stood at 5.8 percent in January, after peaking at 10.8 percent in July, the highest level in 38 years.

The announcement comes ahead of a busy electoral year for Spain with various municipal polls in May and a general election by the year’s end, although no date has yet been set.

Sánchez was quick to flag his government’s efforts to raise the minimum wage since taking office in 2018.

“We have raised it by 36 percent, that’s to say from €735 when we entered government to €1,000 gross over 14 months, and always in the face of staunch opposition from the neo-liberals,” he said.