Congress gives the green light to the ‘rider law’ amid shouts of “Yolanda, resign!”

Maria Cuesta

MADRID

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Congress has today given the green light to what is known as the ‘rider law’, which regulates the working conditions of delivery drivers at home by digital platforms and requires them to hire them as salaried workers within a maximum period of three months. And it has done so while in the vicinity of the Lower House the banners and complaints of more than a hundred of these workers reflected the lack of unity with which the norm is born. The Government has once again relied on the votes of ERC, PNV and Bildu, along with those of Junts, the CUP, Más País-Equo, Compromís and Nueva Canarias to carry out a rule that PP, Vox and Ciudadanos have rejected. The main criticism has come from the lack of dialogue with a group that claims to have very broad needs and interests and that do not fit into a “rigid” norm such as the one that is released.

Faced with these complaints, the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, has asserted that “labor law is not optional” and that artificial intelligence and algorithms “have to be at the service of workers and not the other way around.” In addition, it has defended that the norm is adjusted “faithfully” to the Supreme Court ruling issued last September which ruled that the relationship between a delivery man and the Glovo company has a labor and non-autonomous nature.

On the street, however, the criticisms were aimed solely at the third vice president. Yolanda, resign. Yolanda, resign! », have chanted, according to Ep, as well as “Stop ‘law riders'”, in a protest to which several Vox deputies have joined, including the spokesman, Iván Espinosa de los Monteros. In statements to the media, the president of the Professional Association of Autonomous Riders, Jordi Mateo, has criticized the regulation, considering that it “discriminates” and “deprives them of the freedom of flexibility” that, he has said, they have counted as autonomous until now .

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“We want to continue being autonomous, but not with the current model, but improved as in France and Italy, with greater protection, but in no case with a precarious contract,” he asserted, ensuring that the contracts that the platforms will now offer, through of “external companies”, they will remunerate them “in the best of cases with 400 or 500 euros and, even so, putting their own vehicle and mobile”.

In a debate that has had to be interrupted several times by the vice president of the Chamber before the shouts of the Vox bench, the group’s labor spokesman, Juan José Aizcorbe, has advanced that file an appeal with the Constitutional Court for not seeing the urgent need for this type of initiative. “Thank you for your frankness,” the vice president snapped. “They are telling the workers that you are against them,” he replied and accused that they want to perpetuate “a model based on exploitation.”

For his part, PP deputy Diego Movellán has called for a greater “debate and consensus” for a law with “more ideology than content”, and which seems to respond to the purpose of making “life impossible” for the self-employed. For her part, María Muñoz, from Ciudadanos, has focused her criticism on the “incompatibility” of offering three months to start an urgent royal decree.

Extension of the ERTE

Congress has also given the green light to the extension of the ERTEs, which have been supported by all groups in the Chamber. Díaz has insisted on the success of this scheme, which he has attributed to the fact that “the Government has bypassed the legislation of the PP”, and has pointed out that only 15% of the workers who were covered by an ERTE are currently maintained.

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“The data speaks emphatically,” he said, after recalling that in May 2021 80% of the jobs destroyed during the first wave had already been recovered. “Faced with the two general strikes against the PP, we have addressed, for the first time, a crisis without cuts, without devaluations, and working from the consensus in social dialogue, with major country agreements,” he said.

It has been the popular deputy, Tomás Cabezón, who has returned the dart and made the minister ugly to the negotiation “in extremis” that approved the agreement. “They arrive later and badly,” he said. “We will vote yes, but we will vote no for his entire administration and a government that is more focused on its crisis of government than on the workers and their problems.”

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