Rappi does health with one small difference: employees have rights

Scooters, bicycles and motorcycles are constantly passing through the endless blockade of Mexico City. Often, the drivers of these two-wheeled vehicles carry large boxes marked with last-mile shipping applications, which send food and other goods to local residents. But now, Rappi users can request health services directly through the platform app.

Wearing a doctor’s gown and a helmet, a nurse worked on the delivery shifts at Rappi’s house and talked to him. The rest of the world he said he was hired in early 2022 by a private medical laboratory in collaboration with the app to protect his work. He usually does eight-hour shifts from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and rides a motorcycle provided by his lab, which also pays for fuel. He is particularly pleased with his new job.

“I ride the bike a lot faster … so my turn usually ends on time,” he said The rest of the world. “Sometimes I go to the park or have lunch between appointments.”

Rappi, a 2015-kilometer ubiquitous delivery platform set up in Colombia in 2015, allows users in Mexico City and Bogota to request laboratory blood tests, pregnancies, STI and Covid-19 tests for blood draws and appointments, as well as vaccinations. Deliver and apply to their homes for HPV, herpes and pneumonia. Starting with Covid-19 testing in 2020, Rappi acts as an intermediary for half a dozen health care providers in Mexico City, where staff apply tests or vaccines and then process the results.

Rappi executives and one of his collaborating health care providers said The rest of the world the pandemic provided a beneficial opportunity for cooperation. But health workers also emerged victorious. For the nurse who asked to remain anonymous, the delivery work meant an opportunity to secure a full-time job. For Viviana López, a trained nurse who has been fully employed by Previta for seven years, a supplier who is a partner of Rappi, and who oversees her lab department, it was an opportunity to do her job better. “For medical staff like us, it’s very gratifying to be close to the sick at times like this.”

Rappi learned about the health care model through collaboration after the Covid-19 pandemic devastated much of his company’s health policy. The self-proclaimed super-app stumbled first when it tried to increase delivery services for millions more people who were blocked, but also when it tried to assign a small number of Covid-19 vaccines to its employees, depending on their delivery. performance. The company quickly backed down, but never lost sight of “medical services, home testing and vaccinations,” said Gloria Ruiz, Rappi’s new vertical manager in Mexico. The rest of the world.

After a user requests a health service in the Rappi app, the lab takes care of the rest. The healthcare provider receives a notification and one of its employees is sent to the client’s home. Unlike the large orange backpacks worn by regular trademark applications of the last kilometer delivery application rappitenderos, health workers are armed with normal full of turnstiles, needles, gas and other equipment. The employee will return to the lab before the next appointment with many results sent to users within 24 hours via WhatsApp or email, not via the Rappi app.

Because of their collaboration with Rappi, both López and the anonymous nurse have become delivery staff, yet they are far from being concert workers.

“You become a concert worker,” said Miguel Díaz Santana, co-ordinator of Nosotrxs ’digital staff at the Basic Workers’ Rights and Citizens Advocacy Group. The rest of the world “when you have no secure salary, benefits or employment rights.”

But at least the two nurses interviewed were fully employed by companies that provide Rappi’s health care workers. Morgan Guerra, co-founder, CEO and head of medical issues at the laboratory that employs Previta López, said that although his company does not employ all of its medical staff full-time, all employees who provide services at home. They are rappi. This is in stark contrast to the staff who deliver last-mile applications, who work long hours as third-party contractors on a pay-per-view basis for each job, with no social benefits whatsoever.

“In the worker-employer relationship, work does not disappear; what disappears is the employer who must guarantee these labor rights,” said Díaz Santana.

Although last-mile applications, such as Rappi, have been criticized for working with mobile messengers during the pandemic, Ingrid Ortiz, a lawyer and digital health specialist at the Olivares law firm in Mexico City, said of Mexican law. work and health are not as flexible as the delivery of consumer products. This means that the rights of health workers are generally guaranteed.

For medical providers, joining Rappi was a “natural fit,” Guerra said. In the early days of the pandemic, his company was forced to move people from providing health care services directly to employers through direct employment. e-commerce platform.

“They all became experts in quick tests,” Guerra said The rest of the world referring to a number of small test companies that emerged in the pandemic. “We realized we needed to move forward, so we teamed up with Rappi to provide services to consumers for companies,” strengthening their internal platform.

However, digital employee advocate Díaz Santana has expressed concern about the demand pattern being taken by more industries and what it means for those who make shipments. There is a risk that the delivery model led by Rappi will become a thin thread for the implementation of other practices that undermine the workforce: security, and encourage informal work, ”he said.

Although no specific legislation addresses direct online health care, attorney Ortiz said, “Under Mexican labor law, they are likely to have a contract with the partnership lab, which is the required work schedule and laboratory requirement. Subject to specific regulatory requirements.” .

Ortiz hoped that the practice of home health distribution would grow. “Due to the size of the country, Mexico is one of the most attractive markets in Latin America, so it will soon be the target of all the players involved in this field,” he said.

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