Glovo – a multinational courier company and one of the largest players in the global platform economy – has announced today a pledge to improve the working conditions of their workers. The ‘Couriers Pledge’ proposes a set of policies and social benefits for couriers that will be rolled out across all countries in which Glovo operates, starting with Morocco and Georgia. Fairwork is pleased that Glovo has solicited our advice in this process, and has indicated openness to being held accountable to their commitments by Fairwork. We note that more and more platform companies are taking steps to institutionalise principles of fairness and that it is an increasingly unsustainable position for companies to ignore their responsibilities to their workers. We encourage other platforms to take similar steps towards greater accountability.
Glovo has been at the epicentre of many controversies around unfair working conditions in the gig economy. As trade unions and worker associations across the world have pointed out, there are many aspects in which Glovo’s practices to date fail to meet basic labour standards.
Glovo has never yet achieved a high Fairwork score. Indeed, our evaluations of the company in countries such as Ecuador and Ghana show that a lot of improvement is needed before the jobs that the company provides could be considered fair.
This is something that Glovo has the power to change.
Earlier this year, Fairwork was approached by Glovo seeking advice about their plans for the Couriers Pledge. Glovo has pledged to implement basic standards of fairness, including paying all workers a living wage, in consultation with the Fairwork Project and other social partners such as the Wageindicator project. Our research team pointed to gaps in Glovo’s plans and suggested additional policies that could be incorporated into the content of the Pledge. Glovo decided to incorporate some of these suggestions, specifically:
- Provision of health and safety equipment for couriers.
- Provision of a formalised appeal process with access to a human representative and a mediator system.
- A commitment to introduce channels for the improvement of collective workers’ voice.
- Institutionalisation of anti-discrimination policies.
We are encouraged to be informed by Glovo that the Couriers Pledge will institute accountability to some important minimum standards for workers – most notably the provision of a living wage for all workers for all logged-in time. However, the Couriers Pledge also falls short of standards of fair work in a number of important areas. Judged against our principles, it appears that Glovo couriers might still not benefit from Fair Contracts or Fair Representation. While this pledge includes important policies that could lead to meaningful benefits for couriers, we hope that Glovo will continue moving towards satisfying the full requirements of the Fairwork Principles. This would include a commitment to negotiate with unions that represent Glovo couriers as well as establishing a contractual model, such as full employment, that takes full liability for the working relationship with its workers.
As part of this initiative, Glovo has asked Fairwork to study them in a number of markets. Fairwork will independently evaluate them against the five Fairwork principles, which in some cases align with the Glovo Pledge, but in many aspects go beyond it. Fairwork does not endorse companies but rather provides an independent evaluation of their labour practices. From this position, Fairwork will assess the implementation of the new policies announced today by Glovo against our five principles of Fairwork. This process will start in Morocco and Georgia and will continue in every country that Glovo implements their Pledge. We will use the same methodology and thresholds to rate Glovo in these countries that we use to rate every other platform (you can read more about our methodology here). During this process, we will be collaborating closely with local unions and workers associations to ensure that all the concerns of workers are included in the assessment process. Fairwork will not receive any compensation from Glovo for this research, and the results will be publicly available.
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