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Spain court rules against Amazon over freelance drivers
A Spanish court has ruled that over 2,000 people who used their own vehicles to deliver packages for Amazon as self-employed freelancers should have been hired by the firm as formal employees.
The Madrid labor court said in Thursday's ruling that these workers were "false freelancers" who should have been tied to the US firm with work contracts.
It also ordered the online shopping giant to pay social security contributions for the 2,166 people it hired under the guise of freelancers, according to a copy of the ruling seen Friday by AFP.
The court did not say how much the measure would cost but Spanish trade union UGT, which filed the complaint against Amazon, put the price tag at "several million" euros.
The union said this is the first time a court has ruled against the company's Amazon Flex service, which works like ride-hailing service Uber.
Drivers use an app to sign up for shifts to pick up packages at warehouses and deliver them to Amazon customers' doors.
Amazon Flex ceased operating in Spain in 2021 just before the country passed a law requiring delivery riders to be recognized as employees instead of self-employed contractors.
UGT said it would "continue to fight so that the rights of workers who provide services on digital platforms are respected" and to avoid "situations of labor exploitation".
Amazon had argued it only acts as an intermediary who connects retailers and distributor —a claim rejected by the court.
It said in its ruling that Amazon used an app to direct and coordinate the drivers who "lacked their own autonomous business organization".
Amazon said it disagreed with the court's rationale and would appeal the ruling.
© 2023 AFP