CECOP, The European Youth Forum, Solidar and the Social Platform have co-signed a joint statement on the Directive to improve the working conditions in platform work. As an alliance of civil society organisations and cooperative enterprises, they call on the European Parliament, the Council, and the European Commission to adopt an “ambitious” Directive on improving working conditions in platform work.
“As it stands, platform workers are often subjected to some of the most egregious violations of workers’ rights to be found in contemporary labour markets. The adoption of a strong Directive will contribute to advancing the European Social Model, in-line with the ambitions of the European Pillar of Social Rights, and the values enshrined under Article 2 TEU”, affirms the statement.
The misclassification of the employment relationship has led to a number of regressive consequences for platform workers including health and safety issues, unfair wages, unpaid working time, and unlimited or undefined working hours. Moreover, algorithm management systems have led to opaque and unsustainable rating systems and discrimination. The existing profile of a large portion of platform workers is closely tied to that of vulnerable workers, i.e. with limited acquired formal education and/or from marginalised groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities, who make up 55% of platform workers. This is not only to the detriment of workers, however, but also enterprises applying higher social standards such as platform cooperatives, and society at large.
The EU and its Member States have the opportunity to reformulate the world of platform work, by transforming it into a fairer platform economy that champions social rights – including via digitalisation, respects working conditions, and is co-developed with workers and trade unions. Negotiators can make a positive difference in shaping how platform work guarantees quality working conditions for all.
The declaration calls the EU and its Member States to include in the Directive:
- A rebuttable presumption of employment with a reversed burden of proof: Those working for digital labour platforms must be recognised as workers without having to go through lengthy proceedings. In contrast, workers who are genuinely self-employed must not be, legally or in practice, controlled by and subordinated to the platforms.
- The burden of proof must be on the platform and not on individual workers or administrative or judicial authorities. Workers doing the same work for the same digital labour platform must have the same employment status.
- Any use of algorithms by platforms must be done so in a transparent way, with clear explanations on which decisions are being made by algorithms, to ensure fair working conditions.
- Unilateral social protection schemes by digital labour platforms should be considered as proof of their position as employers.
- A level playing field vis-à-vis businesses that apply higher social standards, such as platform cooperatives.
- The protection and promotion of cooperatives as a solution to improving the conditions of persons performing platform work.
Platform Work Directive trilogues: An opportunity to make a difference
Download the Joint Statement in PDF