The European Parliament wants to improve working conditions for employees of online platforms such as Bolt, Uber, Gorillas and similar delivery services. In such a job you are a slave to the algorithm, said the social-democratic MEP Elizabeth Gualmini Thursday in a plenary session of the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) in Brussels.
Parliament has given the green light to negotiate with the EU Council on new rules to reclassify platform workers, according to the digital magazine Passenger Transport. There is a proposal from the European Commission in which the working conditions of online platform employees must be better guaranteed in the future. The EU countries and Parliament have yet to agree on a compromise.
Millions of platform workers could be classified under the proposal as employees and not as freelancers or (bogus) self-employed as before. This would entitle them to basic workers' rights such as pensions, health insurance and unemployment insurance. Workers would also have the right to organize in unions and negotiate collective agreements. The proposal also aims to regulate how digital work platforms should use algorithms and artificial intelligence to monitor and evaluate employees.
FDP MEP Svenja Hahn was skeptical of the proposal during the discussion. According to her, it abolishes self-employment much further than just delivery or driving platforms. “In effect, anyone offering their services through digital work platforms would be forced into an employment relationship,” she said. Gualmini strongly disagreed on Thursday.
The International Road Transport Union (IRU), on the other hand, believes that Parliament has “taken the right path in limiting the scope of the Platform Workers Directive to purely digital platform actors.” The IRU has long welcomed the EU's initiative to end practices contrary to European values and established national tax and social security systems. The directive aims to improve the working conditions and rights of gig workers in the European Union.
“Yesterday's vote is a major victory for commercial truck operators and the industry as a whole,” said IRU EU Advocacy Director Raluca Marian. “You can continue to combine traditional work and self-employment successfully, in the right balance and with full respect for social and fiscal models.”
“In addition, it is a special victory for taxi companies that have been recognized for the first time as not being part of the ride-hailing sector,” added Marian. “We hope that the remaining text, in particular Articles 4 and 5 on the legal presumption of employment, will be improved in subsequent negotiations with the Council.”