(CTN News) – The Spanish union UGT reports that a Spanish YouTuber is suing Google Spain, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), for unfair termination, which could set a precedent for content creators’ labor rights.
The lawsuit aims to establish an employment relationship between Jota, a political satire content creator, and Alphabet’s YouTube, as Jota regularly provided services and received compensation through advertising revenue.
In August, Google Spain blocked Jota’s YouTube channel, “Último Bastión” (Last Stronghold), from earning advertising revenue and allegedly withdrew money from his YouTube payments account, leading Jota’s lawyer, Bernardo Garcia, to believe that this action terminated the employment relationship.
Jota’s channel features left-wing political satire videos that incorporate content from official channels, subtitles, and special effects to support his viewpoints. Google argues that content creators are not employees and, in this specific case, Jota’s channel did not comply with YouTube’s monetization policies.
The reasons behind the reduction in advertising revenue for Jota’s channel have not been disclosed by Garcia or the union.
In an emailed statement, Google Spain emphasized its strong dedication to supporting creators by sharing the majority of revenues with them.
The company values the feedback received during meetings with numerous creators annually. However, Google Spain clarified that despite claims suggesting otherwise, these creators are not considered employees of YouTube due to the nature of their relationship. A Madrid court has scheduled a hearing for June 26 next year.
Spain has taken a leading role in Europe by advocating for gig-economy workers’ rights, as demonstrated by its requirement for food delivery companies to hire their riders as staff in 2021.
The UGT, a labor union, is committed to combating false self-employment and precarious working conditions that it believes tech giants attempt to impose.
According to Google UGT spokesperson Eduardo Magaldi, although the gig economy may be a recent development, the underlying concepts remain the same.
Some individuals control the platform or means of production, while others offer their labor either from a physical workplace or from their homes, whether it be through online postings or manual production.