Platform workers in Latin America: Transnational logics and regional resistances?

Trabalhadores de plataforma na América Latina: lógica transnacional e resistências regionais?

Pablo Miguez Nicolas Diana Menendez About the authors

Abstract

The platforms boom in Latin America is at the current core of the industrial and retail sectors. Platform workers (i.e., drivers, motorcyclists and bikers) started organizing along different repertoires taken from other countries thanks to the global character of productive processes and the weight of migrant labor in services, such as mail, post services, and mobility of people. From a qualitative approach, this article proposes an overview of main organizing experiences and burgeoning struggles in this new context aggravated by the intensification of such platforms within the Covid-19 crisis.

Keywords:
Platforms; Work; Algorithms; International unionism

Resumo

O auge das plataformas na América Latina está no centro dos processos industriais e de provisão de serviços nas cidades da região. Os trabalhadores comandados pelas plataformas (motoristas de automóveis, motocicletas, bicicletas etc.) começaram a organizar-se, e suas lógicas tomam repertórios de diferentes países, pelo caráter global desses mesmos processos produtivos, assim como pelo forte peso do trabalho migrante nesses setores de serviços de mensagem, correio ou mobilidade de pessoas. Com base em uma abordagem qualitativa, o artigo trata das principais formas de organização e dos processos de lutas emergentes no novo contexto, que se vê potencializado pela maior intensidade do uso desse tipo de plataformas desde a crise da Covid-19.

Palavras-chave:
Plataformas; Trabalho; Algoritmos; Sindicalismo internacional

Introduction

After the international financial crisis of 2007-2008, several platform companies based on mobility, messaging and delivery services emerged, especially from the West Coast of the United States (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., p. 44). At San Francisco, two emblematic platforms (Airbnb1 1 Airbnb is a vacation rental online marketplace company, established in 2008, and based in San Francisco. Airbnb operates in nearly 190 countries and 33,000 cities worldwide and is a symbol of the sharing economy with Uber and Uber2 2 Uber is a pioneer app for mobility and transportation, established in 2008, and operates in nearly 200 countries. ) were founded and became main references for the so-called gig or sharing economy (Brighenti, 2015BRIGHENTI, Benedetta. (2015), The local and regional dimension of the sharing economy. Available at http://edz.bib.uni-mannheim.de/edz/doku/adr/2015/cdr-2015-2698-en.pdf.
http://edz.bib.uni-mannheim.de/edz/doku/...
; Farronato & Levin, 2015FARRONATO, Chiara & LEVIN, Jonathan. (2015), “The spectacular rise of sharing economy”. Global Investor 2.15. Available at http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/GI_215_e_ GesamtPDF_01_high.pdf.
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; Brusson, 2015BRUSSON, Nicolas (2015), “How to disrupt the global city-to-city transport market”. Global Investor 2.15. Available at http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/GI_215_e_Ge-samtPDF_01_high.pdf.
http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloa...
).

At that moment, one could hardly think these companies would go global, participating in the economies of all major and medium cities and stimulating the boom of apps and platforms worldwide. In Europe, equivalent apps offered Delivery Hero3 3 Delivery Hero is a leading German multinational company of food distribution. In Latin America, the company started operations with Pedidos Ya, since 2014. in Berlin since 2011, and Deliveroo4 4 Deliveroo is a British platform of food delivery and operates in Western Europe since 2013. in London, since 2013. At Barcelona, Uber Eats5 5 Uber Eats is the Uber’s service for food orders based at San Francisco and established in 2014. From 2015 on, the company operates worldwide as an independent app for smartphones. arises in 2014, while Glovo6 6 Glovo is a delivery company originally based in Barcelona, in 2015. Glovo starts operating worldwide since 2015, and since 2019 operates in 200 cities and 25 countries (26 of them are Latin American countries by the end of 2019). and Cabify7 7 Cabify is a Spanish app for mobility services, since 2011. This “unicorn” company is known as the “Spanish Uber” and operates in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America. arise in 2015, amongst many other companies along different cities and countries.

In Asia, Alibaba is equivalent to Amazon, while Didi8 8 DiDi is a Chinese transport platform controlled by Alibaba, a large corporation of e-commerce. The “Chinese Uber” was established in 2011 and expanded quickly worldwide. is equivalent to Uber. The company was established in China, in 2012, and has an increasing market share in Latin America. Didi purchased the Brazilian cab company “99” in 2018, and started operating in Argentina, in 2020 - the company was previously established in São Paulo, in 2012, and operates in 30 countries. In Latin America, important platforms such as Mercado Libre9 9 Mercado Libre is the Argentinean e-commerce platform, established nationally in 2019, and currently operates in 18 countries along Latin America. This is the “unicorn” company in Argentina (see Filipetto & Pontoni, 2020). (equivalent to Amazon in the Latin American continent) were part of local economies and became definitively strong by the end of the 2010s. Along the continent, food delivery services started operating by 2009 (i.e., Pedidos Ya10 10 Pedidos Ya is the delivery platform initially based in Uruguay, in 2009. Delivery Hero purchased the platform that operates along Latin America, since 2014. in Uruguay) and 2015 (the Colombian Rappi11 11 Rappi is the Colombian delivery platform, established in 2015, in Bogotá. The company operates in 200 cities and nine countries along Latin America. in Bogotá), but such apps became popular in the last (three) years.

This article analyses the effects related to work lead by the six most important delivery and ride services, as well as travel platforms (Uber, Cabify, Rappi, Glovo, Pedidos Ya), and the embryonic collective organizing of platform workers. The methodology includes different primary and secondary sources and is based in a qualitative approach - as qualitative sources complement and situate the analysis. The article retrieves some discussions and data of two years of research about platforms in Argentina with other fellows; includes in-depth interviews between June and September 2020 with activists in Argentina, Brazil, Equator, Mexico, Chile and Colombia; and comprises three virtual meetings of the international delivery network - the subject of this analysis.

Mobility and delivery platforms: work and platforms

Densely populated Latin American cities are special markets for platforms due to the large number of trips and commercial interactions of such cities12 12 Uber has the greatest travel numbers (“Uber: Latinoamérica posee el mayor número de viajes”, 27 ago. 2018, Latin American Post). . For instance, nearly one million taxi rides were registered per month in Buenos Aires at the moment Uber started operating in Buenos Aires, in 2016 (Del Nido, 2019DEL NIDO, Juan. (enero/junio 2019), “Tecnología y ansiedad de modernidad: notas etnográficas sobre el conflicto de Uber en Buenos Aires”. Hipertextos, Buenos Aires, 7 (11): 171-198., p. 11).

While mobility activities take off in 2009 with Uber, delivery was a decentralized activity at nearly all cities worldwide and was promoted by apps such as: Delivery Hero in Berlin, since 2011; Deliveroo in Great Britain, since 2013; and Globo in Barcelona, since 2015. In Latin America, the company Pedidos Ya started operations even before that, in 2009 at Montevideo. Pedidos Ya used to be one of the most innovative Uruguayan companies and was purchased by Delivery in 2014. Rappi started operating in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2015, and currently operates in 200 cities and nine countries all over Latin America. Therefore, three platforms were operating under the Uber Eats label in Argentina. Uber Eats was founded in 2014 at San Francisco.

Thus, these companies were established between 2009 and 2015, but started to fully operate in Argentina only in 2016, when Uber is finally introduced in Argentina after many years of legal setbacks, and spreads through inland cities (Del Nido, 2018). Cabify, the first Spanish “unicorn” company - with a stock market valuation higher than 10 million dollars - also started operating in Argentina, in 2018. At the mobility platforms specifically, the Chinese company Didi started to operate recently, in 2020. At the delivery platforms market, Rappi, Glovo and Pedidos Ya started to operate in 2018, and only two years later expanded exponentially amongst “users” and “partners”. The platform was reinforced and gained “legitimacy” due to mobility restriction in the context of Covid-19, in 2020.

The travel and mobility platforms are regarded as “austere platforms”: they lead but do not own assets. Platforms’ assets are the algorithms, the software and data to run and demand products and services. Workers facilitating rides and deliveries (drivers) are regarded as “partners” (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., p. 72). Of course, this leads to the avoidance of social assistance and training costs as these are outsourced. However, by no means this is a simple outsourcing of a labor workforce by changing labor rights for commercial relations and/or through the back door. One additional sui generis issue must be added as a result of a “management of algorithms” into the platforms: rides are demanded from the platforms. Therefore, monitoring, terms and conditions, and payment to workers for services are linked to algorithms and apps of clients/users.

According to Jamil, surveillance of algorithms on workers (based on Uber drivers in Canada) is perfectly updated in the Foucauldian “panoptic” concept (Jamil, 2020JAMIL, Rabih. (2020), “Uber and the making of Algopticon - Insights from the daily life of Montreal drivers”. Capital & Class, 44 (2): 241-260.). Differing from traditional industries, the “network effect” promotes the growth of platforms as the number of users increase - a situation that deepens the concentration and dependence of users in parallel to the improvement of algorithms. In the Uber case, this “austere” platform needs more servers - rather than automobiles (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., p. 47): “Furthermore, Uber needs Google for maps, Twilio for texts, Send Grid for mails, and Braintree for payment: it is an austere platform built upon other platforms” (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., p. 79). The fixed costs are lower and/or outsourced.

The platforms own the software and data base (data that has been produced previously or at the moment). Although platforms are presented as simple “intermediates”, they are indeed data extractors, as Srnicek emphasizes. Furthermore, platforms are data “producers” that control aspects of market rules: according to Srnicek, Uber “predicts the time and place of driver demands and raises the prices before the demand is actually produced, besides creating ghost cabs to simulate a higher offer” (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., p. 47).

Data control is the platforms’ core, and the need of more data would lead them to some kind of “convergence” regarding same market and data areas. This could explain the negotiations held by Uber with Google concerning autonomous vehicles -vehicles without drivers - that took off from the West Coast at the United States (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., p. 100). Indeed, because of the autonomous vehicles issue, Uber had to pay 245 million dollars13 13 Agreement between Uber and Google for the vehicle without driver (“Acuerdo entre Uber y Google por el coche sin conductor”, 9 fev. 2018, El País). First deadly outrage of a car with no driver (Cano, 2018). to Google as compensation to a Patent Infringement and Employment Theft. The international competition for shared rides/travels between Uber, DiDi and Lyft is being carried out also in China and India, as well as by Amazon, Alibaba and Flipkart in the electronic commerce. Srnicek states that in the platform world, the United States and China are located in the Chinese ecosystem, while Europe seeks to move away from both (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., p. 120).

Recently, Uber pursued to increase its market share in Europe and Latin America by purchasing other companies - a debt of 700 millon dollars. Uber aims to purchase the mobility and German automotive companies that seek to come away from them because of the Covid-19 crisis. BMW and Daimler merged their respective mobility companies in 2019 in a new consortium (Your Now) that includes service companies, such as Taxi Free Now and My Taxi. Services would be available in over 100 cities, involving 100.000 drivers in Europe14 14 Uber is released onto Free Now and offers more than 1000 million to Daimler and BMW (“Uber se lanza a por Free Now y ofrece más de 1.000 millones a Daimler y BMW”, 21 out. 2020, El País). .

The austere platforms grew in the context of the low incentive and profit rates after the 2008 crisis, and only some companies received a considerable part of investments to services on demand: “in terms of finances, Uber overcame 39% of all operating service companies in 2014. In 2015, Uber, Airbnb and the Chinese Uber competitor DiDi Chuxing have remained with 59% of financing for startups for services on demand” (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., p. 81).

Nevertheless, according to some authors (eg. Srnicek, Galloway), the austere platforms capacity of generating income is condemned to a certain limit. Furthermore, this could lead to a collapse, as a consequence of not being capable to maintain the benefits in terms of labor costs and operations (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., p. 83). In this sense, the rise of conflicts and struggles of drivers in each city along with the imposition of regulations could leave these platforms without interesting margins. As Galloway (2019GALLOWAY, Scott. (2019), Four. El adn secreto de Amazon, Apple, Facebook y Google, Conecta, Barcelona., p. 225) states,

Uber is undoubtedly disruptive in the long-established disruptors in the Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, for Uber this disruption is happening in a highly regulated market, and Uber achieves great benefits behaving as if it wasn’t subjected to the same regulation that include traditional taxis. Uber thinks it is possible to hire anyone who wants to drive, and that the Company can charge anything it wants - a belief reinforced by the market. Meanwhile, the taxis - which are competitors - don’t have this same freedom for the most part of the markets.

Despite these prognoses, the impact over the labor market is now beginning to be deeply studied. In 2015, aligned with the recent escalation of precarious labor and within the framework of an output to the 2008 crisis without employment growth, “alternative” workers in United States reached about 15,8% of the total workforce. Self-employment created 2/3 of work conditions since the 2008 crisis, what avoided massive unemployment (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., pp. 74-75). Almost 3 million (1% of the workforce) correspond to austere platforms. In Great Britain, the numbers reached 1.4 million, 4% of total workforce in 2015. This issue was reinforced in the following years, although the licenses for platforms operations were suspended at first in 2017 and then in the last months of 201915 15 London denies Uber license to circulate through the streets (Oppenheimer, 2019). ; the renovation of licenses was recently recovered, in September 202016 16 Uber achieves license to operate in London (“Uber consigue licencia para operar en Londres”, 28 set. 2020, El País. .

In Latin America, although impacts are a bit different, this market grows steeply. In Brazil, it is estimated that in 2020 there were about 500.000 delivery or mobility platform workers, overcoming the previous projection that indicated that there would be 280.000 workers in this condition during the pandemic. The increasing number is a direct consequence of the insufficiency of the emergency basic income of 600 reais approved by the Bolsonaro government. Abilio’s research on 298 delivery workers of iFood, Uber Eats, Rappi and Loggi from 29 Brazilian cities points out to the increase of demands (Rappi declared a 30% raise all over Latin America during the pandemic) in parallel to a reduction of workers’ incomes and no support to biosafety procedures against Covid-1917 17 After a few actions of Public Ministry of Labor (MPT), Rappi arrange with the Labor Justice take actions to protect workers from Coronavirus (Assé, 2020). (Abilio et al., 2020ABILIO, Ludmila Costhek; ALMEIDA, Paula Freitas; AMORIM, Henrique; MOREIRA CARDOSO, Ana Claudia; PATRIOTA DA FONSECA, Vanessa; KALIL, Renan & MACHADO, Sidney. (2020), “Condições de trabalho de entregadores via plataforma digital durante a Covid-19”, Revista Jurídica Trabalho e Desenvolvimento Humano, Campinas, Edição Especial - Dossiê Covid-19, 3: 1-21. Available at https://www.cesit.net.br/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/74-Texto-do-artigo-568-2-10-20200608.pdf.
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). In Argentina, according to Madariaga (et al, 2019MADARIAGA, Javier; BUENADICHA, Cesar; MOLINA, Erika & ERNST, Christoph. (2019), “Economía de plataformas y empleo ¿Cómo es trabajar para una app en Argentina?”. CIPPEC-BID-OIT, Buenos Aires.), there were over 160.000 platform workers (users and service providers, what represents 1% of the activity on a national level), yet registered platform users (users, service providers and users-consumers) that offer goods and services as Mercado Libre reach almost 10 million people, or 15% of the population (Madariaga et al., 2019MADARIAGA, Javier; BUENADICHA, Cesar; MOLINA, Erika & ERNST, Christoph. (2019), “Economía de plataformas y empleo ¿Cómo es trabajar para una app en Argentina?”. CIPPEC-BID-OIT, Buenos Aires., pp. 67-68). Additionally, there was a clear and accelerated expansion of platform workers.

Platform homogeneity trends in Latin America

Several studies inform that new forms of work organization in platforms impact the working class (Huws, 2014HUWS, Ursula. (2014), “Labor in the Global Digital Economy: The Cybertariat Comes of Age”. Monthly Review, Press NY.; Casilli, 2016CASILLI, Antonio (2016), “Le digital labor: une question de société”. Rédaction Inaglobal. Available at https://www.inaglobal.fr/numerique/article/le-digital-labor-une-question-de-societe-8763?print=1.
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) and the digital work (Fumagalli et al., 2018FUMAGALLI, Andrea; LUCARELLI, Stefano; MUSOLINO, Elena & ROCCI, Giulia. (enero/junio 2018), “El trabajo (labour) digital en la economía de plataforma: el caso de Facebook”. Hipertextos , Buenos Aires, 6 (9): 12-40.; Miguez, 2020MIGUEZ, Pablo. (2020), Trabajo y valor en el capitalismo contemporáneo. Reflexiones sobre la valorización del conocimiento. Buenos Aires, Ed. UNGS .). In addition, there are the monopolistic tendencies of these business models and impact on competition. The approaches that seek to put this trend in a broader historical perspective assert the existence of a “Platform Capitalism” (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra.), suggesting that we are experimenting a transition to a new form of capitalism characterized by the hegemonic status of this kind of organization. This perspective is potentially in dialogue with Cognitive Capitalism theories with focus on transformations in labor processes, the mobilization of a “general intellect” and accumulation based on the appropriation of knowledge (Hardt & Negri, 2004HARDT, Michael & NEGRI, Antonio. (2004), Multitud, Buenos Aires, Debate., 2011HARDT, Michael & NEGRI, Antonio. (2011), Commonwealth, Madrid, Akal.; Carmona & Míguez, 2017CARMONA, Rodrigo & MÍGUEZ, Pablo. (comp.). (2017), Valorización del conocimiento en el capitalismo cognitivo: implicancias políticas, económicas y territoriales. Buenos Aires, Ed. UNGS.; Sztulwark & Míguez, 2012SZTULWARK, Sebastian & MÍGUEZ, Pablo. (2012), “Conocimiento y valorización en el nuevo capitalismo”. Realidad Económica , Buenos Aires, 270: 11-32.; Vercellone, 2007VERCELLONE, Carlo. (2007), “From formal subsumption to general intellect: Elements for a Marxist reading of the thesis of cognitive capitalism”. Historical Materialism, London, 15 (1): 13-36., 2011VERCELLONE, Carlo. (2011), Capitalismo cognitivo. Renta, saber y valor en la época posfordista, Buenos Aires, Prometeo.).

In Latin America there is a “homogeneity” in material and symbolic dimensions imposed by the platform model. In this section, we address some of them:

  • Just a few companies tend to monopoly: for many reasons, the platform business model tends to effective monopoly. Firstly, it is a product of an excessive decline in costs that makes the small-scale competition impossible. This happens for two reasons: the millionaire sums of investments lost in large periods and the way platforms are installed and develop outwardly state regulations, avoiding tax and labor obligations. On the other hand, the same platform model expands itself through the “network effect” phenomena, that is to say, the more users in a platform, the better the services will be. Thus, the algorithms improve and become more efficient in economic terms (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra.). The deliberate strategy of converting into monopolies in the respective cities the platforms appear, includes the purchase and fusion of smaller companies. When the market’s hoarding is not visualized, the platforms leave without major responsibilities.

  • Platforms’ business models - especially deliveries’ - have an increased homogeneity on the mechanisms of managing and exploiting labor. As we mentioned before, this scheme works by seeking extreme costs reduction, dumping over workers every service expense (Glovo, for example, charges delivery workers a monthly rate to use the platform18 18 A plausible hypothesis is that Glovo uses this resource not only to transfer costs to workers, but also as an argument against the demands for recognizing labor relations that involve delivery workers: there is not a relation of dependency if the delivery workers pay for a service. ), as the only competitive way for players. A paradigmatic case happened with Pedidos Ya that started its activities in Argentina with registered delivery workers as formal workers, including union delegates. This model lasted for a few years, once operations of Glovo and Rappi as “independent distributors” model started in the beginning of 2018. Since then, Pedidos Ya fired the great majority of formal workers, replacing them for self-employed workers or monotributistas19 19 Monotributistas refers to a simplified tax regime for self-employed workers. . Differences among platforms are minimal and changes by some of them are quickly incorporated by the others. Delivery workers might float in different platforms according to criteria that occasionally lead them to get more inclined to one platform or the other, although the common reason are unilateral blockages, many times as a cause of app defects. Individual or collective complaints, grievances and demands are not substantially different.

  • This homogenization process is extended in different countries. In Latin America - in a context of a highly informal and precarious labor market - the platforms’ expansion quickly exacerbated such conditions. These technology companies’ schemes can be replied in any countries with no major adjustments to follow local needs. Virtually, there is no distinction between management forms in different countries. Differences related to labor conditions, complaints and demands of delivery workers occur in each country only in terms of conversational tone; the content of these demands is the same, which easily habilitates them to become internationalized.

  • The model is sophisticated through algorithms and massive capture data. This network effect has many edges, but we focus on the effects over the labor conditions in Latin American countries, such as Argentina. When the delivery workers access the app, they have to regularly accept the terms and conditions unilaterally established by the platforms. Interface, terms and conditions change constantly in every app, which brings a deterioration of labor conditions and a reduction of workers’ income. In many cases and countries, these changes are direct triggers of the worker’s collective organization. This was the case of the first trade union of platform workers organized in Argentina (Haidar, Diana Menendez y Arias et al, 2020HAIDAR, Julieta; DIANA MENÉNDEZ, Nicolás & ARIAS, Cora. (Oct./dic. 2020), “La organización vence al algoritmo? Plataformas de reparto y proceso de organización de los trabajadores de delivery en Argentina”. Pilquen. Sección Ciencias Sociales, UNCOMA, 23 (4): 15-28. Available at http://revele.uncoma.edu.ar/htdoc/revele/index.php/Sociales/article/view/2984.
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    ) and also in other countries in the region, as an activist from Equator states: “[…] In November 2019 they battered us by diminishing the 1,00 US$ fee we had to 0,50 cents, plus reducing the payment of 0,30 cents per kilometer to 0,25. Then, the first strike happened” (Equator activist, personal interview, 10/07/2020).

  • The predominant presence of Venezuelan immigrants working in platforms due to the political and economic crisis that led them massively to almost every country in the region is another issue (Brazil is the country where the immigrants have less gravitation in this kind of activity20 20 A study made by AliançaBike indicates that more than 90% of the workers are Brazilian, constituting an exception in Latin America (Aliança Bike, 2019). ). Furthermore, it is important to consider the singular characteristic of medium sociocultural layers involved in this movement - many of them professionals that live acute processes of a drop in social status (Mallimacci & Pedone, 2019MALLIMACCI, Ana & PEDONE, Claudia. (2019), “Trayectorias laborales de la población vene-olana en la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires”. In: BLOUIN, Cecile (coord.). Después de la llegada. Realidades de la Migración Venezolana. Lima, Themis Editorial Juridica, pp. 129-148.). In Peru, the Venezuelan immigrants constitute 67% of total delivery workers21 21 Results of a survey realized by the observatory in October 2019. According to the same source, 33% have completed university studies. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/106216697867715/photos/a.106697164486335/145813900574661/. and 33% of them have a higher education 33%; in Equator they reach 69% of the delivery workers while 57% have university degrees22 22 Survey realized by the Observatorio de platformas de Ecuador. Available at: https://wambra.ec/ emprendedor-socio-trabajador-repartidorxs-apps/. ; in Chile, more than 90% are foreigners23 23 Sarmiento, 2020. Available at: https://larepublica.pe/economia/2020/08/09/coronavirus-glovo-rappi-america-latina-repartidor-de-delivery-el-esclavo-moderno-de-latinoamerica/. ; in Argentina, a recent survey indicates that 48% of the workforce is Venezuelan and 31% have a bachelor certificate24 24 Realized in July 2020. (Haidar, 2020HAIDAR, Julieta. (Octubre 2020), “La configuración del proceso de trabajo en las plataformas de reparto en la ciudad de Buenos Aires”. Informe de Coyuntura Nº 11. Instituto Gino Germani, Universidad de Buenos Aires.). For people that arrive in a country without recognition of their labor market and professional trajectories, the platforms constitute the option to a fast and significant urgent income:

I also think that they arrived here taking advantage of the historical moment we were living in Venezuela. I arrived here from my country, with all my documents totally authenticated and apostilled, and until today I can’t practice my profession. This was the most accessible place to work, since I had just arrived. In Equator a boom apparently led people to receive considerable wages. (Equator activist, personal interview 10/07/2020)

Conflicts and challenges for the worker’s organization

In the last two years, a large mass of workers had a great visibility: delivery platform workers in urban centers. Generally, they move through motorcycles or bicycles dressed up with monochromatic and strident colors, each with a specific color. Less visible but equally countless are the mobility services workers. A few months after the arrival of these companies, organizations of workers started emerging, vindicating a series of extensive and diverse demands related to labor conditions. The situation of the delivery workers is worsened due to a paradox that followed the pandemics: they became a, “essential” service, as they are responsible for the flow of goods limited by the social isolation.

Mobility workers face aggressive strategies of companies that take advantage of governments, competitors, and employees, such as Uber or Cabify:

Uber spends an enormous amount of money in lobby and marketing to take advantage in regulation and increase the costumer’s base. Uber’s desperation tried to sabotage its competitors. The company has made an extensive use of this tactic on businesses with long-term taxi companies and alternative platforms of shared rides. Seeking to overcome a competitor, for example, Uber asked and cancelled rides to certain companies to obstruct rivalry (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., p. 109).

At first, authors as Srnicek sustained that driver demands would lead to a lethal effect on platforms making them unsustainable until basic rights were guaranteed (Srnicek, 2018SRNICEK, Nick. (2018), Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires, Caja Negra., p. 108).

However, although Uber faced important regulations, the company grows and expands its operations. In February 2017, a conflict with Uber in New York lead to the DeleteUber movement and the withdrawing of about 200 thousand user accounts as a response to the fact that Uber took advantage of a taxi strike in the JFK airport. The taxi drivers were protesting against Donald Trump’s anti-migration laws (Galloway, 2019GALLOWAY, Scott. (2019), Four. El adn secreto de Amazon, Apple, Facebook y Google, Conecta, Barcelona., p. 26). In December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union declared Uber a “transportation company”, rather than a mere intermediation company between travelers.

In 2018, Uber had operations in 150 cities and 15 countries along Latin America, while in Great Britain25 25 In 2021, the uk Supreme Court, rules Uber drivers should be classed as workers (Russon, 2021). the company was suspended and abandoned operations in Barcelona, in January 2019. Furthermore, the company was blocked in big cities such as Budapest and Copenhagen, between 2016 and 2017. In Argentina, Uber arrived in March 2016, Cabify in 2018 and DiDi arrived in La Plata and other cities close to Buenos Aires in 2020 and carried out competition among the companies in Argentina. Unlike Uber, DiDi seeks to get close to taxi drivers instead of competing with them through DiDi Taxi (that doesn’t charge commission for the first three months, against the 15% charged by regular DiDi Express service)26 26 The Chinese Uber arrives in Argentina: DiDi doesn’t charge commission and love taxi drivers (“Llega Didi, el ‘Uber chino a la Argentina: no cobra comisiones y lo aman los taxistas’”, 27 ago. 2020, Info-Technology). .

Generally, the major conflict source is with the taxi drivers, but conflicts of workers against the platform are already being experienced. Avalos y Sofia (2015AVALOS, Marcos & SOFIA, Paula. (enero-febrero 2015), “Baby, you can(’t) drive my car. El caso de Uber en México”. Revista Economía Informa, 390: 104-112. Available at https://www. elsevier.es/es-revista-economia-informa-114-pdf-S0185084915300074.
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) systematized the Uber scheme disclosing its operations in various cities in Mexico: 1) operations start, leaving aside current juridical disposals, illegally or unregulated in many cases, sheltered in private rights (service contracts between private individuals), offering competitive advantages as innovation and better service; 2) competitors (taxi services and some particular passenger transport services) seek to slow down the companies’ operation and ask for a response of the authorities concerned 3) the companies’ operations are forbidden, generating polemics and activating defense mechanisms scripted by service users themselves; 4) acquire regulation.

In California - where Uber started operating 10 years earlier - by the end of 2019 a norm was enacted to regulate every driver as employee. Such norm (AB5) establishes a deadline to the regulation of every driver of these companies, but platforms keep arguing are simple technological intermediaries to autonomous and independent drivers. In return, Uber and other apps, such as Lyft, besides menacing to “disregard” thousands of drivers, promoted a referendum (Proposition 22) to revoke the imposition of AB5 and to declare the drivers as autonomous. The companies’ response is covered by a California’s legislation - that habilitates proposals propelled by citizenship since it fulfills certain requirements - and is sustained by a virulent campaign by the companies that costs 250 million dollars with tactics such as attacking and harassing critics, including scholars and government officials27 27 Available at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/11/why-uber-and-lyft-are-taking-a-page-out-of-big-tobaccos-playbook-in-labor-law-battle, accessed on 29/09/2020 (Dubal, 2020). , according to activists of the platform worker’s organization.

Delivery workers’ resistance are expressed in actions and incipient collective organization experiences. In Spain, the delivery workers of Deliveroo organized their first strike on July 2, 2017. The strike lasted for 3 hours during the rush hour (Sunday, between 8 and 11 p.m.) and claimed for a time and customer’s order setting regulation (two orders for hour and 20 hours of working time per week). A trade union section was created, as a platform for the Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya (IAC) action, what provoked the company’s rejection28 28 “The Deliveroo delivery workers from Spain call for the first strike against a company of the ‘new economy’” (Ferrer, 2017). .

One year later, in July 2018, the first platform workers’ strike in Latin America was organized by the Asociación de Personal de Plataformas (APP) in Argentina, the first trade union of platform workers, that includes workers from Glovo, Rappi, Pedidos Ya, Uber, and others. Roger Rojas, the Venezuelan union’s general secretary, and other workers were “blocked” by Rappi when organizing. Every year the movement go on strike and on July 1st, 2020, actions were coordinated in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Equator, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Repression in Brazil was especially hard, since delivery workers grew from 280 thousand to 500 thousand in the pandemic context and were declared as a “essential service”. However, they suffered a 50% reduction of their base income by platforms as Uber Eats, iFood and Glovo. In Brazil, the situation and the protests organized by delivery workers isn’t recognized by Justice, since the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), in 2019, and the Superior Labor Court (TST), in 2020, rejected the existence of employment relationship between delivery workers and platforms, considering it as a flexible labor and thus the “non-obligation of exclusivity”29 29 “Pandemics, uberism and labor demands in Brazil” (Gallego, 2020). .

Many organizations created in urban centers started to build bridges and relations with similar regional and international organizations. Social and economic backgrounds, political contexts, pre-existing regulations and political and labor traditions vary across different countries, but the platformization process raises itself upon the globalizing inertia that tends to degrade work worldwide, homogenizing labor conditions ruled by technological centers. The platform workers in countries such as Italy, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia and Spain are submitted and subordinated to the same logics and lack of regulation characteristic of those companies that take advantage of gaps in national legislations. The set of demands claimed by delivery workers in Argentina is almost the same in Equator and Brazil, just to mention a few countries.

The growing awareness about this situation is accelerated in a pandemic context, deepens the bonds between emerging workers’ organizations over such countries, and start creating broader networks and exchange spaces30 30 Between August 16 to 18 occurred the first international drivers virtual congress of #Niunrepartidormenos in Latin America, where many representatives of the mentioned organizations attended. , as well as collective actions and strikes in a regional scale. In October 2020, four direct actions were coordinated internationally by riders, including “logouts” and mobilizations in urban centers. The last international strike (October 8, 2020) was preceded by an international press conference (September 29, 2020) to give voice to the causes and characteristics of the upcoming strike: organizations from Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Equator, Colombia, USA, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Japan and Nigeria attended the conference.

The pandemic resulted in the worsening of labor conditions and organizational time. We participated on different virtual meetings of networks in distinct instances of meeting and action that incorporates associations and countries. While only 7 organizations from Latin American countries participated in the July 1st strike, organizations from 19 countries and 4 continents joined the October 8 strike in the same year31 31 This date isn’t arbitrary. It was chosen in solidarity with the campaign against Proposal 22 promoted by Uber and Lyft in California, against the obligation to recognize the labor rights of drivers in that state, granted by the AB5 Law. . The meetings had a growing process of organization in the network.

In addition to some particular slogans of each organization according to its local aspects, the last international strike agreed on common demands that render account to the improvements in collective construction: recognition of labor rights and the unfreezing of fees; rejection to the ranking system; enforceability of labor risk insurances against theft and healthcare coverage; permits for sickness, accidents and pregnancy; rejection of the blocking system and the right to deny orders; justice and compensation for the workers killed in work accidents.

Globalization and national/international syndicalism

The literature on unionism and the impact of globalization the labor processes and the global value chains emphasizes, amongst other variable dimensions, the international integration of national economies, the placement of value chains, the national unionist models, etc. The delivery platforms - multinational companies that spread regionally and globally in an unprecedented speed - have a low internal division of labor. At first, they seem like service companies that should operate locally, in face-to-face interactions.

We can distinguish work within the platform from work controlled by the platform (Miguez, 2020MIGUEZ, Pablo. (2020), Trabajo y valor en el capitalismo contemporáneo. Reflexiones sobre la valorización del conocimiento. Buenos Aires, Ed. UNGS .). On one side, within the platform we have an internal division of labor conformed by computer specialists and administrative workers - the only ones that the companies assume as employees - generally residing on the home countries of those companies, besides particular cases where they incorporate local bureaus. On the other hand, there is a huge and growing mass of delivery workers, always renewed (facilitated by the almost non-existent barriers to entry), that aren’t considered companies’ employees (neither by the platform, neither by the national legislations) and are conceived as autonomous, independent workers or “partners”. In that sense, particularly in the field of collective action and self-organization experiences of riders, we can stablish a first crucial point for the analysis and comprehension of these workers’ experience in a regional level, but also globally. Nevertheless, these workers retain national differences: the delivery platform workers are submitted to the same labor conditions in their specific activity.

The last two decades witnessed intense debates in the Anglo-Saxon world about the renewal of unionism but were fundamentally centered in national trade unions (Levesque & Murray, 2010LEVESQUE, Christian & MURRAY, Gregor. (2010), “Understanding union power: resources and capabilities for renewing union capacity”. Transfer: European review of labour and research , 16 (3): 333-350.; Dufour & Hege, 2010DUFOUR, Christian & HEGE, Adelheid. (2010), “The legitimacy of collective actors and trade union renewal”. Transfer: European review of labour and research, 16 (3): 351-367.; Heery, Kelly & Waddinton, 2003HEERY, Edmund; KELLY, John & WADDINGTON, Jeremy. (2003), “Union revitalization in Britain”. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 9 (1): 25-42.). In some cases, when international unionism was approached, the focus on campaigns generating international solidarity was based in local actions (Fairbrother & Hammer, 2005FAIRBROTHER, Peter & HAMMER, Nikolaus. (2005), “Global unions: Past efforts and future prospects”. Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, 60 (3): 405-431.).

In the last decades of the 20th workers witnessed a progressive undermining of labor on a national and global scale (Tilly, 1995TILLY, Charles. (Spring 1995), “Globalization threatens labor’s rights”. International Labor and Working-Class History, 47: 1-23.; Hyman, 1996HYMAN, Richard. (1996), “Los sindicatos y la desarticulación de la clase obrera”. Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios del Trabajo, 2 (4): 9-26.). More recently, some authors outlined the beginning of a new phase that habilitates growth and strengthening opportunities for the international union organizations (Evans, 2010EVANS, Peter. (2010), “Is it labor’s turn to globalize? Twenty-first century opportunities and strategic responses”. Global Labour Journal , 1 (3): 352-379.; Bieler, 2014BIELER, Andreas. (2014), “Transnational labour solidarity in (the) crisis”. Global Labour Journal, 5 (2): 114-133.; Lerner, 2007LERNER, Stephen. (2007), “Global unions: a solution to labor’s worldwide decline”. New Labor Forum, Joseph S. Murphy Institute, CUNY, NY, 16 (1): 23-37.; Fairbrother & Hammer, 2005FAIRBROTHER, Peter & HAMMER, Nikolaus. (2005), “Global unions: Past efforts and future prospects”. Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, 60 (3): 405-431.; Munck, 2010MUNCK, Ronaldo. (2010), “Globalization and the labour movement: challenges and responses”. Global Labour Journal , 1 (2): 218-232.) and argued about the “neoliberal globalization as the nemesis of the workers’ movement” (Evans, 2010EVANS, Peter. (2010), “Is it labor’s turn to globalize? Twenty-first century opportunities and strategic responses”. Global Labour Journal , 1 (3): 352-379.). Amongst their central arguments, the international political economy transformations are highlighted, since the 1970s, the conditions to develop international unionism were generated insofar as the global labor processes transformed the material basis of established class compromises (Burnham, 1999; Fairbrother & Hammer, 2005FAIRBROTHER, Peter & HAMMER, Nikolaus. (2005), “Global unions: Past efforts and future prospects”. Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, 60 (3): 405-431.). These compromises are related to protect jobs and acquired privileges (Bieler, 2014BIELER, Andreas. (2014), “Transnational labour solidarity in (the) crisis”. Global Labour Journal, 5 (2): 114-133.), fundamentally in the global North.

The development and deployment of platforms reveal the articulation of a new capital structure that imposes its rules without any local mediation, working as a sort of international labor market operating through the effects of data extraction and surplus labor. This situation is far more severe in crowdworking (De Stefano, 2016DE STEFANO, Valerio. (2016), “The rise of the ‘just-in-time workforce’: On demand work, crowdwork, and labor protection in the ‘gig-economy’”. Working Paper 71. Conditions of work and employment series. Geneva, ILO.; Vallas, 2018VALLAS, Steven. (2018), “Platform capitalism: What is at stake for workers?”. New Labor Forum, Joseph S. Murphy Institute, Cuny, NY, 28 (1), pp 48-59.), where the platform distributes micro-tasks independently of the geographic location of the worker. The outsourcing and radical precarity of labor in the platform model and the homogeneity tendency result on a blockage of class agreements inasmuch as the platforms don’t configure as local mediations. By contrast, in most cases the platforms’ characteristics enabled international intraclass deals, including considerable differences related to conceptions and traditions, although these articulations are still debile and incipient.

Many traditions of thought, regarding their particularities, consider the inexorability of the workers’ resistance in the face of capitalist exploitation (Labor Process, Marxism), even when capital subsume new territories to expand and evade resistance, as shown by Silver (2005SILVER, Beverly. (2005), Fuerzas de trabajo. Los movimientos obreros y la globalización desde 1870. Madrid, Akal .). However, the solidarity between workers that resulted from their common position in the production process and from their experiences of struggle are not automatic and require actions of resistance (Bieler, 2014BIELER, Andreas. (2014), “Transnational labour solidarity in (the) crisis”. Global Labour Journal, 5 (2): 114-133.). Therefore, worker’s narratives organizations differ depending on the country. As a matter of fact, some organizations have a mutual aid origin, aiming to aid injured delivery workers. Over time, workers politicized their discourse, also influenced by the interaction experiences with other regional organizations with considerable political imprint, shaping and renewing their own demands:

At first, we were a simple mutual aid group. In the last year, in June, we began integrating an ngo called Nosotres and started to talk about labor rights, and how to pursuit and defend it. Then we saw that we actually needed it and without knowing, we were fighting with other workers in different countries. In that year, by mid-April, organizations from Argentina as ATR, El Ancla and Dar Vuelta Todo invited us to participate in the mobilizations (Activist from Mexico, personal interview 3/10/2020).

We were complaining against Glovo, then we come into contact with some guys in Argentina [ATR organization]. That’s when the first international strike happened and when the Glovers organization of Equator is born: from the first international strike. (Activist from Equator, personal interview 14/9/2020) (citação)

The collective actions of workers are as immediate as the landing and deployment processes of platforms in each city they are introduced. Although the structural conditions to algorithm management and the unprecedent power asymmetry between capital and labor hinder and difficult the arising of collective organizing and bargaining, it doesn’t prevent it - even in the case these are fragile and immediate responses (Haidar et al, 2020HAIDAR, Julieta; DIANA MENÉNDEZ, Nicolás & ARIAS, Cora. (Oct./dic. 2020), “La organización vence al algoritmo? Plataformas de reparto y proceso de organización de los trabajadores de delivery en Argentina”. Pilquen. Sección Ciencias Sociales, UNCOMA, 23 (4): 15-28. Available at http://revele.uncoma.edu.ar/htdoc/revele/index.php/Sociales/article/view/2984.
http://revele.uncoma.edu.ar/htdoc/revele...
).

Another inherent element to this emerging process is its fast international articulation. Many organizations quickly started to establish relations and links with neighboring countries’ organizations to nourish from more advanced experiences, and to articulate common actions to think about combined strategies. There is specific data that appears in the interviews and shows something particularly important: every activist is relatively well informed about organizations, situations and instances of judicial and legislative processes of other countries in the region, including Europe. The information flow between organizations, provided by the same technology used to exploit them, which also constitutes a sign of an epoch, besides being a facilitator of collective organization.

[The articulation of the international network] started long ago: the movement has only three months. People from many places became aware of the massive strikes and then began speaking with people to engage in strikes. However, this is just a starting point, as I said, and we are late. There are [experienced workers in] countries and cities with many years of struggle, and we are just now creating ours (Activist from Brazil, personal interview 18/09/2020).

Mostly, the bibliography on global unionism points out to the relevance of consolidation and establishment of bridges between national union organizations. Critics addressed to its practices spin around the lack of vision or compromise within international networks, fundamentally because they keep thinking themselves locally, in relation with (and aiming) to national states. Furthermore, these union organizations don’t understand the need to strengthen the global dimension of dispute and negotiation with corporations. Nevertheless, the networks we analyzed proceed the other way around. Without a strong local organizational basis - a result of certain structural and structuring effect over its objective conditions -, these new forms of organizing finds out on an international dialogue and the networks of connection between collective actions, as an imperative from its origins.

There’s this idea that one can enter the app whenever you want and there’s no schedule to fulfill, but in practice you need to work 12 hours in the streets to achieve a minimum wage: what kind of freedom is that? That’s why I say that this is a global occurrence, because the fascist march is also global and is happening in many places, but our struggle also is, because the apps took over the world. They might have different names or appear as different companies, but the kind of work they promote is the same (Activist from Brazil, personal interview 18/09/2020).

This situation is consonant with Evans’ (2010EVANS, Peter. (2010), “Is it labor’s turn to globalize? Twenty-first century opportunities and strategic responses”. Global Labour Journal , 1 (3): 352-379.) proposition: in sociocultural terms, the revolutionary turning points in communication are combined with the advent of a globally shared culture and daily practices that enable the possibility to raise new solidarities. Also, there is a singularity in the Latin American regional process, because there are effectively more possibilities of articulation to propagate an homogeneity in the labor conditions, including a certain culture radiated and reinforced by the large migratory Venezuelan exodus that permeates almost every delivery platform experiences in the region. This happens to such an extent that some of these experiences were activated and motorized by migrant workers, such as the APP organization in Argentina or Glovers in Equator.

Conclusion: workers reduced to their own strength?

As we were able to rebuild through this paper, in most cases the organizations here analyzed aren’t supported by established and/or preexistent trade unions. The workers are in a self-organizing process. It’s an absolutely de-institutionalized conflict, without a clear regulation. The pandemics conducts them to illegality, even virtually. The disposition to act as a key aspect of worker’s associative power is being faced by algorithm management and blocking, without any cost for the companies.

In this sense, it’s noticeable that part of the bibliography (Fairbrother & Hammer, 2005FAIRBROTHER, Peter & HAMMER, Nikolaus. (2005), “Global unions: Past efforts and future prospects”. Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, 60 (3): 405-431.; Munck, 2010MUNCK, Ronaldo. (2010), “Globalization and the labour movement: challenges and responses”. Global Labour Journal , 1 (2): 218-232.) states the renovation of struggles from international institutions and the recognized spaces of union participation point of view, as a product and a result of Fordist dynamics. Platforms, however, deny all those structures and break up with the negotiation and dialogue channels. Workers strive from other starting points, with other kinds of power resources, completely different and much more fragile than traditional Fordist ones.

The platform locus finds itself in an earlier stage. Labor conditions regress to the end of the 19th century, a time when first trade union organizations fought for basic rights. In almost every country, legal demands and legislative initiatives began, although the favorable definitions were denied or delayed. The respective national regulations on labor activity that result from the workers’ struggles and claims can serve as a basis to initiate an articulation between regional agreements. One of the proposals that was raised in the International Congress of Delivery Workers was the implementation of meetings between lawyers of distinct countries to develop common strategies and to benefit from not only legislative, but legal experiences.

In Latin America, traditional union structures don’t have regional movements besides symbolic solidarities with grassroots organizations. The ILO has been raising debates about this specific theme and elaborated the first global studies about work in Platform companies (De Stefano, 2015), but didn’t constitute itself as a determinant ally. In the light of this research, we considered that the unionist and associative strategies nourish from international experience to achieve results on their demands in national urban spaces, but they also need to establish bridges with institutions that already have consolidated organizational experiences to oppose to the disruptive forces of global capital under the Platform system.

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    » https://wambra.ec/emprendedor-socio-trabajador-repartidorxs-apps/
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    » https://elpais.com/economia/2019/11/25/actualidad/1574676876_162836.html?rel=str_articulo#1604281272216
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  • 1
    Airbnb is a vacation rental online marketplace company, established in 2008, and based in San Francisco. Airbnb operates in nearly 190 countries and 33,000 cities worldwide and is a symbol of the sharing economy with Uber
  • 2
    Uber is a pioneer app for mobility and transportation, established in 2008, and operates in nearly 200 countries.
  • 3
    Delivery Hero is a leading German multinational company of food distribution. In Latin America, the company started operations with Pedidos Ya, since 2014.
  • 4
    Deliveroo is a British platform of food delivery and operates in Western Europe since 2013.
  • 5
    Uber Eats is the Uber’s service for food orders based at San Francisco and established in 2014. From 2015 on, the company operates worldwide as an independent app for smartphones.
  • 6
    Glovo is a delivery company originally based in Barcelona, in 2015. Glovo starts operating worldwide since 2015, and since 2019 operates in 200 cities and 25 countries (26 of them are Latin American countries by the end of 2019).
  • 7
    Cabify is a Spanish app for mobility services, since 2011. This “unicorn” company is known as the “Spanish Uber” and operates in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.
  • 8
    DiDi is a Chinese transport platform controlled by Alibaba, a large corporation of e-commerce. The “Chinese Uber” was established in 2011 and expanded quickly worldwide.
  • 9
    Mercado Libre is the Argentinean e-commerce platform, established nationally in 2019, and currently operates in 18 countries along Latin America. This is the “unicorn” company in Argentina (see Filipetto & Pontoni, 2020FILIPETTO, Sonia & PONTONI, Gabriela. (2020), “Relaciones laborales y economía de plataformas. El caso de Mercado Libre en la Argentina reciente”. Realidad Económica, 335, Buenos Aires (en prensa).).
  • 10
    Pedidos Ya is the delivery platform initially based in Uruguay, in 2009. Delivery Hero purchased the platform that operates along Latin America, since 2014.
  • 11
    Rappi is the Colombian delivery platform, established in 2015, in Bogotá. The company operates in 200 cities and nine countries along Latin America.
  • 12
    Uber has the greatest travel numbers (“Uber: Latinoamérica posee el mayor número de viajes”, 27 ago. 2018, Latin American Post“UBER: LATINOAMÉRICA POSEE EL MAYOR NÚMERO DE VIAJES”. (27 ago. 2018), Latin American Post. Available at https://latinamericanpost.com/es/22870-uber-latinoamerica-posee-el-mayor-numero-de-viajes.
    https://latinamericanpost.com/es/22870-u...
    ).
  • 13
    Agreement between Uber and Google for the vehicle without driver (“Acuerdo entre Uber y Google por el coche sin conductor”, 9 fev. 2018, El País“ACUERDO ENTRE UBER Y GOOGLE POR EL COCHE SIN CONDUCTOR” (9 fev. 2018), El País. Available at https://elpais.com/economia/2018/02/09/actualidad/1518211917_510950. html.
    https://elpais.com/economia/2018/02/09/a...
    ). First deadly outrage of a car with no driver (Cano, 2018CANO, Rosa Jiménez. (20 mar. 2018), “Primer atropello mortal de un coche sin conductor”. El País . Available at https://elpais.com/tecnologia/2018/03/19/actualidad/1521479089_032894.html.
    https://elpais.com/tecnologia/2018/03/19...
    ).
  • 14
    Uber is released onto Free Now and offers more than 1000 million to Daimler and BMW (“Uber se lanza a por Free Now y ofrece más de 1.000 millones a Daimler y BMW”, 21 out. 2020, El País“UBER SE LANZA A POR FREE NOW Y OFRECE MÁS DE 1.000 MILLONES A DAIMLER Y BMW”. (21 out. 2020), El País . Available at https://cincodias.elpais.com/cincodias/2020/10/21/companias/1603301330_778160.html?rel=str_articulo#1604282278966.
    https://cincodias.elpais.com/cincodias/2...
    ).
  • 15
    London denies Uber license to circulate through the streets (Oppenheimer, 2019OPPENHEIMER, Walter (25 nov. 2019), “Londres deniega a Uber la licencia para operar en sus calles”. El País . Available at https://elpais.com/economia/2019/11/25/actualidad/1574676876_162836.html?rel=str_articulo#1604281272216.
    https://elpais.com/economia/2019/11/25/a...
    ).
  • 16
    Uber achieves license to operate in London (“Uber consigue licencia para operar en Londres”, 28 set. 2020, El País“UBER CONSIGUE LICENCIA PARA OPERAR EN LONDRES”. (28 set. 2020), El País . Available at https://cincodias.elpais.com/cincodias/2020/09/28/companias/1601290862_318001. html?rel=mas?rel=mas.
    https://cincodias.elpais.com/cincodias/2...
    .
  • 17
    After a few actions of Public Ministry of Labor (MPT), Rappi arrange with the Labor Justice take actions to protect workers from Coronavirus (Assé, 2020ASSÉ, Ralph. (21 dez. 2020), “Rappi assina acordo e garantirá segurança dos entregadores contra Covid-19”. Estado de Minas. Available at https://www.em.com.br/app/noticia/nacional/2020/12/21/interna_nacional,1222804/rappi-assina-acordo-e-garantira-seguranca-dos-entregadores-contra-covid-19.shtml.
    https://www.em.com.br/app/noticia/nacion...
    ).
  • 18
    A plausible hypothesis is that Glovo uses this resource not only to transfer costs to workers, but also as an argument against the demands for recognizing labor relations that involve delivery workers: there is not a relation of dependency if the delivery workers pay for a service.
  • 19
    Monotributistas refers to a simplified tax regime for self-employed workers.
  • 20
    A study made by AliançaBike indicates that more than 90% of the workers are Brazilian, constituting an exception in Latin America (Aliança Bike, 2019ALIANÇA BIKE, Associação Brasileira do Setor de Bicicletas. (17 jul. 2019), “Pesquisa de perfil dos entregadores ciclistas de aplicativo”. Available at https://aliancabike.org.br/pesquisa-de-perfil-dos-entregadores-ciclistas-de-aplicativo/.
    https://aliancabike.org.br/pesquisa-de-p...
    ).
  • 21
    Results of a survey realized by the observatory in October 2019. According to the same source, 33% have completed university studies. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/106216697867715/photos/a.106697164486335/145813900574661/.
  • 22
    Survey realized by the Observatorio de platformas de EcuadorOBSERVATORIO DE PLATFORMAS DE ECUADOR; CORDERO, Kruskaya Hidalgo & DAZA, Carolina Salazar. “¿Emprendedor, socio o trabajador?”. Wambra: Medio Digital Comunitario. Available at https://wambra.ec/emprendedor-socio-trabajador-repartidorxs-apps/.
    https://wambra.ec/emprendedor-socio-trab...
    . Available at: https://wambra.ec/ emprendedor-socio-trabajador-repartidorxs-apps/.
  • 23
    Sarmiento, 2020SARMIENTO, Jair. (9 ago. 2020), “Repartidor de delivery, el esclavo moderno de Latinoamérica”. La República. Available at https://larepublica.pe/economia/2020/08/09/coronavirus-glovo-rappi-america-latina-repartidor-de-delivery-el-esclavo-moderno-de-latinoamerica/.
    https://larepublica.pe/economia/2020/08/...
    . Available at: https://larepublica.pe/economia/2020/08/09/coronavirus-glovo-rappi-america-latina-repartidor-de-delivery-el-esclavo-moderno-de-latinoamerica/.
  • 24
    Realized in July 2020.
  • 25
    In 2021, the uk Supreme Court, rules Uber drivers should be classed as workers (Russon, 2021RUSSON, Mary-Ann. (19 fev. 2021), “Uber drivers are workers not self-employed, Supreme Court rules”. BBC News. Available at https://www.bbc.com/news/business-56123668?xtor=AL-72-%5Bpartner%5D-%5Bbbc.news.twitter%5D-%5Bheadline%5D-%5Bnews%5D-%5Bbizdev%5D-%5Bisapi%5D&at_medium=custom7&at_custom2=twitter&at_custom3=%40BB CBusiness&at_custom4=4FE60EAA-7298-11EB-B0F809034844363C&at_campaign=64&at_custom1=%5Bpost+type%5D.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-561236...
    ).
  • 26
    The Chinese Uber arrives in Argentina: DiDi doesn’t charge commission and love taxi drivers (“Llega Didi, el ‘Uber chino a la Argentina: no cobra comisiones y lo aman los taxistas’”, 27 ago. 2020, Info-Technology“LLEGA DIDI, el ‘Uber chino a la Argentina: no cobra comisiones y lo aman los taxistas’”. (27 ago. 2020), Info-Technology. Available at https://www.infotechnology.com/entreprenerds/Llega-Didi-el-Uber-chino-a-la-Argentina-no-cobra-comisiones-y-lo-aman-los-taxistas-20200821-0009.html.
    https://www.infotechnology.com/entrepren...
    ).
  • 27
    Available at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/11/why-uber-and-lyft-are-taking-a-page-out-of-big-tobaccos-playbook-in-labor-law-battle, accessed on 29/09/2020 (Dubal, 2020DUBAL, Veena. (11 set. 2020), “Why Uber and Lyft are taking a page out of big tobacco’s playbook in labor law battle”. The Guardian. Available at Available at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/11/why-uber-and-lyft-are-taking-a-page-out-of-big-tobaccos-playbook-in-labor-law-battle , accessed on 29/09/2020.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre...
    ).
  • 28
    “The Deliveroo delivery workers from Spain call for the first strike against a company of the ‘new economy’” (Ferrer, 2017FERRER, Tomeu (28 jun. 2017), “Los repartidores de Deliveroo convocan la primera huelga em España en una empresa de la ‘nueva economía’”. El Diario. Available at https://www.eldiario. es/catalunya/trabajo/repartidores-deliveroo-convocan-primera-economia_1_3306408.html.
    https://www.eldiario. es/catalunya/traba...
    ).
  • 29
    “Pandemics, uberism and labor demands in Brazil” (Gallego, 2020GALLEGO, Esther Solano. (1º set. 2020), “Pandemia, ‘uberismo’ y reivindicación laboral en Brasil”. Política Exterior. Available at https://www.politicaexterior.com/pandemia-uberismo-y-reivindicacion-laboral-en-brasil/.
    https://www.politicaexterior.com/pandemi...
    ).
  • 30
    Between August 16 to 18 occurred the first international drivers virtual congress of #Niunrepartidormenos in Latin America, where many representatives of the mentioned organizations attended.
  • 31
    This date isn’t arbitrary. It was chosen in solidarity with the campaign against Proposal 22 promoted by Uber and Lyft in California, against the obligation to recognize the labor rights of drivers in that state, granted by the AB5 Law.

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    13 Sept 2021
  • Date of issue
    May-Aug 2021

History

  • Received
    03 Feb 2021
  • Accepted
    22 Mar 2021
Departamento de Sociologia da Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas da Universidade de São Paulo Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, 315, 05508-010, São Paulo - SP, Brasil - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: temposoc@edu.usp.br