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YouTuber sues Google Spain for alleged wrongful dismissal

A 3D printed Youtube and Tik Tok logo are seen placed on keyboard in this illustration taken, September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
A 3D printed Youtube and Tik Tok logo are seen placed on keyboard in this illustration taken, September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

On Thursday, the Spanish union UGT said that a YouTuber from Spain is suing Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL.O) subsidiary Google Spain for unfair dismissal. This lawsuit can potentially establish a precedent for the labor rights of content producers.

Because Jota consistently offered his services and earned compensation from advertising income, UGT claimed that the case aims to establish an employment relationship between Jota—a political satire video producer whose true identity has not been revealed—and Alphabet’s YouTube.

In August, Google Spain stopped allowing Jota’s YouTube channel, “Último Bastión” (Last Stronghold), to receive advertising money. He said the firm took money out of his YouTube payments account.

His attorney, Bernardo Garcia, told Reuters, “We consider this to be a severance of the employment relationship.” He said they had asked the court to declare Jota’s effective discharge from YouTube and their labor connection “wrongful.”

Videos of left-wing political satire on Jota’s channel have been posted; they are often feeds from official channels like town councils and parliament. He has included visual effects and subtitles to bolster his arguments.

Garcia and the union declined to comment on the rationale for reducing advertising income at his station.

According to Google, Jota’s channel did not adhere to YouTube’s monetization regulations, which state that content producers are not employees.

Since we genuinely care about the success of artists, we give them most of our profits. Every year, during our meetings with hundreds of creators, we get a lot of input. But in contrast to what is asserted, given the nature of their connection, they are not workers of YouTube,” a statement from Google Spain was sent via email.

In a Madrid court, a hearing is set for June 26 of the following year. When it compelled food delivery businesses to recruit riders as employees in 2021, Spain became a European leader for the rights of gig economy workers.

The UGT declared its commitment to opposing the imposition of insecure labor conditions and fraudulent self-employment by Internet companies.

The gig economy may be new, but the ideas underlying it are not, according to UGT spokesperson Eduardo Magaldi.

“Some manage the platform or the means of production, while others provide labor in one capacity from their homes or places of employment. Either by generating something by hand or by uploading it on the internet,” he stated.

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