Domiciliary workers employed by digital platforms have managed to negotiate improved working conditions with the help of a union created to defend their rights, at the instigation of the Ministry of Labor in Colombia.
The need to regulate the increasing number of workers employed by digital platforms prompted government intervention. It was through public efforts, and with the determination of 25 workers, that the Unidapp union was created in August 2020 to represent workers in the sector.
An agreement has been reached between Unidapp and the company Rappi, a major player in delivery services in Colombia. Rappi is a super app for on-demand e-commerce deliveries that began its operations in 2015, founded by three Colombian entrepreneurs. Today, it is the leading company in the country for delivery services, holding a market share of 44.1% in 2022.
Agreements between the Unidapp union and Rappi
The Union of Digital Platform Workers (Unidapp) has reached an agreement with Rappi, the major player in the sector, to “improve the well-being of more than 150,000 delivery workers in digital platforms in the country.”
The mediation of the Ministry of Labor began six months ago through nine periods of dialogue, and has resulted in a series of improvements for delivery professionals. The agreements cover various aspects, including the modification of notifications for order pickup processes by delivery workers, reducing them from 16 to a maximum of 3 notifications. This was achieved after delivery workers raised concerns that excessive notifications were affecting their safety.
It was also agreed that “RappiFavor orders will be exclusively for the delivery or pickup of a single product or package” and that there will be “a review of the systems that lead to the suspension of delivery worker accounts in ‘Soy Rappi’.”
Among the agreements signed by both parties is also the commitment to hold a monthly meeting between the union organization and the Delivery Worker Ombudsman.
However, certain issues remain unresolved, including a guaranteed minimum fee, designated areas for delivery workers to rest and park, workplace safety and health, among others.
Minister of Labor Gloria Inrs Ramírez emphasized, “We aim to ensure that work in delivery platform companies is dignified and decent so that they can contribute to the productivity of new business models without job insecurity.”
Mandatory Affiliation to Social Security
One of the most significant points is that platforms must enroll their workers in “all subsystems of the Comprehensive Social Security System and make the corresponding contributions.”
In this regard, for independent workers, the digital platform will cover 60% of health and pension contributions, with the worker responsible for the remaining 40%. This is a crucial measure for the economic security, both present and future, of workers, ensuring they not only have health coverage but also a pension after retirement. It’s worth noting that the independent sector is where the highest number of people are excluded from pension rights due to minimal or nonexistent contributions to the system during their working years.
Negotiations Will Continue
According to Deputy Minister of Labor Relations Edwin Palma, this is the first agreement of its kind in the region between a platform and a workers’ union that recognizes the labor organization of delivery workers in Colombia.
However, Palma clarified that negotiations will continue because “these agreements do not concern the Labor Reform initiative regarding platform work, where the nature of work and the form of affiliation to the social security system, among other aspects, will be discussed.”
Palma hopes that the “conversations (…) continue with the same willingness of the parties” so that they can “yield more agreements that have a positive impact on the lives of those working in delivery platform jobs.”