The European Commission will consult European trade unions and employers’ organisations on legislation for so-called platform workers, such as Uber drivers and Deliveroo delivery companies. It will focus on improving their working conditions, says the EU’s day-to-day administration. The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the growth of that market, but at the same time has shown that these self-employed people are often in a vulnerable position in terms of their health, social protection and benefits.
“The digital age offers great opportunities for entrepreneurs, consumers and citizens,” said European Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager. “The platforms can help people find new jobs and explore new business ideas. But at the same time, European values must be well integrated into the digital economy. The new forms of work must be sustainable and fair.”
MEP Kim Van Sparrentak (GroenLinks) welcomes the initiative to improve the rights of platform workers. She says that is much needed. “This should quickly lead to European legislation that establishes that the vast majority of platform workers are simply employees like everyone else, with the right to a decent wage, sick leave and insurance.”
PvdA colleague Agnes Jongerius believes that in principle all platform workers should be regarded as employees. “Our commitment is to reverse the burden of proof. Assume that there is an employment relationship with the platform, which fully ensures social and other rights. It is up to the platform to prove the contrary.”
Just last week, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ruled that Deliveroo’s meal delivery companies are not self-employed entrepreneurs, but employees who are entitled to an employment contract. Legislation is already under way in Spain following the Supreme Court ruling last year that the Spanish meal delivery man Glovo has an employment relationship with his delivery men and is not just an intermediary. In other countries too, the position of workers in the platform economy is increasingly under attack.