An initiative group of Glovo delivery workers in Ukraine has created the first trade union in gig economy sector. According to ILO Convention No.87 “Freedom of association and protection of the right to organize,” as well as the Law of Ukraine “On trade unions, their rights and guarantees of activity,” a trade union is considered a legal entity upon the adoption of its statute, prior and independent of any government action or certification.
Earlier this summer, a group of Glovo delivery workers have organized a rally in front of the Glovo office in Kyiv, denouncing the precariousness of their labor and demanding a reversal in the recent shift in Glovo’s bonus system that has led to a decrease of pay per greater number of hours worked. Over 300 delivery workers are part of the online initiative group that emerged after the recent change in Glovo’s policies. Labor Initiatives NGO started to provide legal support to the initiative group of Glovo workers from the very beginning of their protests.
The workers also raised the issue of nonexistent employer-employee relations between Glovers and the app platform, as they are registered as platform ‘users’, and the fact of their employment is not recognized. Thus, they are not entitled to insurance or compensation in case of accidents and are responsible for fixing their bikes and motorbikes.
According to the workers, under the current conditions they are forced to bike or drive their scooters up to 14 hours per day, six days a week, to make a living. The Glovo company officially denies any labor relationships between it and couriers. As newly formed trade union members stated the crucial goal for them is officially acknowledging the existence of labor relationships and obtaining relevant labor and social rights. It worth mentioning that after Glovo workers started their protests and declared forming of the unio,n Glovo paid 56 million UAH (about $2 million USD) in their tax debt following raise of public attention to the company.
NB: Glovo is a Spanish start-up founded in Barcelona in 2015. It is an on-demand courier service that provides purchases, pick-ups, and product deliveries through its mobile app. In the recent months, there have been allegations from Glovo workers and allied trade unions with regards to Glovo violating workers’ rights by failing to provide protection for its employees, including formal contracts or access to social security benefits.