One of the main demands and struggles of the delivery partners and drivers of platforms such as Uber , Didi , Rappi and Beat is the lack of social security when carrying out their work, despite all the risks that may entail.
In Mexico there is an intention to regulate the partners of digital platforms, so companies are already holding discussion forums to rethink the working conditions of their working partners.
Last Monday, October 24, the Digital Platforms and Social Security of the Future (PlaDiss) forum was held at the UNAM Legal Research Institute. In it, representatives of Didi, Rappi, Beat and Uber, members of the government, civil society and academics spoke about why they have not been able to regulate drivers and delivery people on these platforms.
According to the Oxfam report “This future does not apply”, in Mexico, seven out of 10 delivery people do not have access to any type of contributory social security, access to public or private health, or insurance in case of accidents provided free for companies.
However, this is a much more complex issue than it may seem and in order to legislate, the context and possibilities of each country must be taken into account.
For example, in 2021, the “Rider Law” was implemented in Spain, which reclassified delivery men as full-time salaried employees and not independent or self-employed. The regulation generated negative effects and an imbalance in the market because more than 10,000 delivery people lost the opportunity to generate income and, in the case of UberEats, 74% of delivery people stopped using the app.
On the other hand, Chile was the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to modify the Labor Code to incorporate the figure of the “digital platform worker”. In this, workers can choose to be dependent or independent and both have access to social security benefits and other labor benefits, such as a legal minimum hourly income, the right to disconnect at least 12 hours a day and the delivery of protection elements. staff.
Challenges of legislating app partners in Mexico
Tonatiuh Anzures, director of government affairs at Didi Mexico, commented: “We are interconnection platforms that connect supply with demand. This is a new occupation model that needs to be rethought and think outside the box”.
Legally, the people who work on these platforms are not recognized as employees of the company, but as “partners”. This is because, strictly speaking, the platform only facilitates the connection between a driver and a person who requires the service, but they do not offer the transport service.
One of the main requests is that the delivery men stop being considered “partners” and be recognized as “”. This change guarantees health insurance, law benefits and a base salary.
Ricardo Barbosa, president of the Coparmex labor commission, mentioned that the main thing is to start determining who can be considered independent workers. This could be done, for example, by indicating the number of hours worked. “The true needs must be analyzed and an adequate measure for social security must be sought and, rather than reform the Federal Labor Law, the IMSS law must be reformed so that they have access to social security on platforms,” he commented.
This idea coincided with that of Víctor Baeza, CEO of Pension Policy International, as he mentioned that one of the main problems is that not all independent workers are the same.
Currently, the IMSS has 2,005,952 registered workers, of which it is estimated that only 500 to 600 are independent workers of digital platforms, although the program was designed to benefit this type of employee.
According to Baeza, the program has not been successful for two reasons. The first, because of the barriers to entry, and the second, because the cost is covered by the worker.
Faced with this problem, his proposal is to divide independent workers into three types: those who have work as their main activity; that is, that 100% of their income comes from the digital platform; mixed activity, for example, those with another source of recurring income and the platforms serve as a complement; and complementary activity, that is, when the income is sporadic and eventual.
Considering that not all distributors are the same, Baeza mentions that the IMSS should include more flexible plans. For example, if there are delivery people who work in an office and already have certain benefits, offer a more accessible and flexible plan that includes the services they genuinely require.
On the other hand, the private initiative could also generate ad hoc private security packages for these situations.
Relevant aspects for a modern regulation
In internal surveys carried out by Didi and Quadrant, certain aspects were identified that should be considered in order to regulate in the best way:
- Protect flexibility: 80% of delivery people and drivers value the flexibility offered by platforms and 66% stated that they would stop working on platforms if they lose flexibility.
- Rethink social security systems: For all people who do not fit the typical worker-employer model and reach more inclusive social protection models.
- Road safety: Promote the well-being of delivery people and drivers based on good practices.
- Develop insurance products: Especially in the private sector that adapt to the needs of delivery people and drivers.
- Seek rest times: They must be suitable for delivery people and drivers.
- Transparency of terms and conditions: Make them easy to understand and accessible.
- Non-discrimination and fair treatment: For all delivery people and drivers.
- Pay attention to the preferences of delivery people and drivers: To generate adequate, intelligent and innovative public policies.