Self-employed couriers for food delivery companies such as Deliveroo or UberEats in Spain must be given contracts in the next three months, the government in Madrid decreed on Tuesday.

Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz hailed the government’s decision following a cabinet meeting, boasting that the country was taking a pioneering role in the booming sector that’s grown in the pandemic.

“There is not a single country in the world that has dared to legislate in this area,” said Diaz, whose Unidas Podemos alliance is in coalition with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists.

However, shortly after the government decision was announced, two courier associations called for nationwide protests. They argue the decree will lead to over 15,000 delivery drivers becoming jobless.

As self-employed workers, the delivery drivers have no legal protections and suffer precarious working conditions. As regular employees, the idea is that they will be entitled to paid vacation and sick pay, and enjoy all the protections of the law.

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