Amazon was found guilty in Spain for having false ‘autonomos’

January 29, 2024 by
Frank Calviño

Amazon was found guilty in Spain for having false ‘autonomos’. The Social Court number 42 of Madrid has condemned the company led by Andy Jassy for hiring 3,688 delivery drivers as false ‘self-employed’ or what is called in Spain ‘autonomos’ between October 2019 and November 2021, declaring that the relationship between these and the company was a labor relationship indicating a contractual status akin to an employee and its employer, and not mercantile relation, as it would be with a company and any outsourced service that it can hire, as the multinational intended.

This is the second conviction of this type that Amazon has received in our country. The first was known a year ago and referred to the period between 2017 and 2019. Amazon introduced the Amazon Flex model, through which anyone with a car could deliver packages for fourteen euros per hour, at the end of 2017. After the approval of the Rider Act in August 2021, Amazon was quietly shutting down the program, which is currently not operating in Spain.

The lawsuit was brought by the General Treasury of the Social Security. It involved the intervention of the UGT union, representing several hundred of these delivery workers, which welcomed the conviction. 

"We consider this sentence an important milestone, which closes this painful episode in this particular company, as all the workers have now been regularized with a contract", said the union in a statement, while encouraging the workers to continue to rely on the union both to analyze possible claims to the company for other rights that were taken away from them in that period of "false autonomy or to fight and negotiate their current working conditions in this or any other company".

Amazon can appeal the ruling in the next five days before the High Court of Justice of Madrid. However, in statements to el Periódico de España, the company has shown its disagreement with the ruling and has assured to be considering filing an appeal: "from 2018 to 2021 we collaborated with some self-employed carriers through the Amazon Flex program, which represented a small percentage of the packages delivered in Spain".

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