Because the riders are among the protagonists of 2020

Because the riders are among the protagonists of 2020

The riders have transformed tasks considered "poor" into service activities with professional dignity. An in-depth study by Walter Galbusera of the Anna Kuliscioff Foundation

The story of the riders (or food delivery cycle , as the Ministry of Labor defines them in neo-autarchic language) continues to reserve surprises, but in reality it is only a metaphor of the contradictions and limits of our country.


In the 30,000 riders in circulation who these days perform an increasingly necessary service to reduce the discomfort of isolation, there are different figures, from immigrants and Italians of no more green age who are living (and deserve the respect due to those who are rolls up their sleeves and accepts any honest job with pragmatism of necessity) to predominantly young people who consciously choose an independent activity that, in addition to a remuneration that they consider adequate, also allows them spaces of freedom that are impossible with an employee job; finally, to students who see different perspectives in their future but who carry out this activity on a temporary basis to have a small income.

In fact, this activity does not require particular professionalism, but a sense of responsibility and sufficient organizational skills. It is clear that we are faced with different needs and that each of the interested parties tends to different solutions from the point of view of their legal-professional framework. It is also possible, even if not verified, that an important part (the socially weaker one) of the riders want a subordinate employment contract and that another part prefers self-employment.

So far everything is normal, in any company of a certain size there can be drivers and messengers. Typical is the example of the post office and its related industries, a substantial workforce that can carry out its business using a bicycle or a moped. The same can happen for large companies that through the platform distribute food or other, such as Just Eat , which has independently decided to use the riders as employees and is working on a hypothesis of a company collective agreement (i.e. the FCA case) which, in over the next year, it should affect 3,000 people in 23 cities.


A generalization of this model can be hoped for, but it is evident that pizzerias and restaurants or other shops cannot always afford their own direct employees and must turn to the platforms that distribute the work. In any case, this decision concerns exclusively the will and the contractual capacity of the parties. It is equally obvious that an individual has the right to be self-employed. As almost everywhere, forms of exploitation are possible that must be identified and fought also with the support of the institutions, but we must realize that the best way to defeat illegality in the world of work is to sign contracts or agreements that establish rules to which everyone must comply.

In this sense, the anti-evaporation protocol was signed in the Prefecture in Milan, albeit separately by Cgil, Cisl and Uil on the one hand and Ugl on the other. This activity is not very different from that of taxi drivers, where self-employed and employees coexist. And it is not clear why it should not be managed with similar rules. We do not understand the rationale , imbued with antagonistic ideological connotations, which seems to animate the Minister of Labor Nunzia Catalfo and Cgil, Cisl and Uil towards the contract of the riders for self-employment signed between Ugl and Assodelivery.


What is surprising, especially in the guidelines that emerge in the circular issued on November 19, 2020 by the Ministry, is that the goal is not to protect all the workers who carry out this activity but to cancel the figure of the autonomous rider, judged unable to administer the own interests (from the series: For your sake I'll cut off your head) or considered the urban reincarnation of a kind of kulacco, the small peasant owner who was the object of the ferocious persecutions of Stalin. It is no coincidence that an authoritative labor lawyer like Pietro Ichino defines this circular as: “the most sensational scramble in the world, since union law was born. In order to oppose the Assodelivery / Ugl Rider national collective labor agreement, the Ministry of Labor is ready to cancel the first paragraph of Article 39 of the Constitution, and with it seventy years of trade union law. "

It can be added that the minister, with a curious heterogenesis of ends (do you want to oppose a trade union whose origins were certainly on the right?), Is completely arbitrarily reviving the old norms of corporate syndicalism of the fascist regime. This attitude which would like to deny the recognition of an expression of small entrepreneurship can only be explained in the light of a culture of anti-market and narrow egalitarianism that erases merit and responsibility.


But, beyond these sad events, and if a necessary exception is made for health professionals, all riders must be recognized for having earned the recognition of workers of the year in 2020. It certainly does not mean that they were the only front lines of the fight against Covid but, although they were born out of nowhere and represent a very composite army of workers, made up of Italians as well as immigrants, young and old, they were among the protagonists of the pandemic emergency government by ensuring essential services such as home delivery of meals.

Despite being classified as one of the infinite activities of the "economy of jobs", they have given rise to a model of widespread small entrepreneurship that has grown the relevant terms with very modest investments (a bicycle!) And has ended up taking on significant characteristics both as a subordinate job than as an autonomous activity. The riders have transformed tasks, considered in the "poor" labor market and intended for the most marginal groups, into a service activity that has gained its own professional dignity and a contractual capacity that will hardly fail with the desirable return to post normality. pandemic.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Thu, 31 Dec 2020 07:30:50 +0000.