ELA, at the WSF: “It would be a mistake to just look at riders or taxi drivers as the only victims of the growing job insecurity and the use of false self-employed workers”

Feb 02, 2021
VIRTUAL WORLD SOCIAL FORUM 2001-2021 20 YEARS Mari Cruz Elkoro, general secretary of the Federation of Private Services, affirmed that “it would be a mistake for trade unions to just look at riders or taxi drivers as the only victims of the growing job insecurity and the use of false self-employed workers” during her on-line presentation at the World Social Forum. “This is a labour relations model that has come to stay and that is spreading to other jobs such as computing, engineering, translating and jobs are even being offered in the care field,” she stated.

Elkoro showed her concern about the boom in companies that are creating jobs with a total lack of security, using completely illegal hiring mechanisms, which are being presented as middlemen between consumers and service providers. “They are hiring personnel using self-employed modalities, when they are false self-employed workers, with a brutal flexibility and total control by the company,” she denounced.

There is an important discussion about the relationship that joins these companies and the people who provide the service, that is to say, whether they are self-employed workers or are workers covered by the Workers’ Statute. “This difference, according to Elkoro, “is substantial because it covers the variation between jobs with rights or jobs without any kind of rights and completely unregulated.”

Although at present there are legal sentences that are considering that these workers are salaried employees of the company, Elkoro insists that “we cannot reduce the tension regarding these new forms of employment because the employers are putting pressure on in order to obtain legal modifications and because they will make the way they work more sophisticated to resolve the questions that today lead them to conclude that they are labour relations.”

As a matter of fact, Elkoro emphasises that the trade union must put pressure in the opposite direction to the companies. “The law must be reinforced to protect against this type of employment, otherwise, in a very short period of time we are going to find jobs that have no rights, and above all, which are outside any collective bargaining,” she insisted.

This leader also tackled the danger of these jobs from the point of view of the trade union organisation itself. “Trade unions have consolidated our structures based on a type of company which, little by little, is disappearing: the work centre with a single employer where the entire staff works,” she explained, adding that this new employment formula totally changes the concept of space and time. “The staff is no longer located in a physical space; they do not interact, they probably don’t even know each other; they also do not work within some specific working times. The flexibility is complete: work when you want and how you want… and these circumstances mean that our regular organisation forms cannot respond to the challenges that we have,” she stated with concern.

Finally the general secretary of the Private Services concluded her presentation at the FSM, which is celebrating its 20 year anniversary, assuring that ELA is a trade union with its feet firmly on the ground, linked to reality, therefore “we are at a crucial moment. We must innovate, we have to adapt the trade union and our proposals to the new categories for job insecurity that are appearing if we want to be useful to the working classes,” she marked out as a challenge.