Fairwork Response to the European Commission’s Proposal for a Directive on Platform Work

Fairwork welcomes the European Commission’s long-awaited Proposal for a Directive on Improving Conditions on Platform Work. The proposal establishes strong ground for granting more gig workers statutory rights and social protection by tackling gig workers (mis-)classification as self-employed. Moreover, the proposal includes important measures for improving worker co-determination of AI in the workplace.

However, the proposal also falls short in various areas when it comes to ensuring statutory rights and social protection for all platform workers: Reacting to national court rulings and laws classifying gig workers as employees, platforms have amended their practices to maintain the self-employed model. Workers continuing as self-employed are however not granted statutory rights or social protection in the proposal. A stronger regulatory framework is needed to hold platforms working with a self-employed model responsible for taking proactive measures to protect and promote the health and safety of workers.

Moreover, our research highlights that platforms’ use of often complex networks of subcontracting to avoid employer responsibilities. Thus, provisions for ensuring also the rights of workers laboring on digital labour platforms via sub-contractors are needed.

Lastly, stronger provisions for promoting collective dialogue are needed. The proposal’s provision for facilitating communication among workers on the platform is not enough and falls short of ensuring workers’ rights to collective bargaining.

Read Fairwork’s full response here.

Authors: Alessio Bertolini, Oğuz Alyanak, Callum Cant, Tatiana López, Pablo Agüera, Kelle Howson, Mark Graham

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Fairwork Berlin Talk Series

Fairwork is hosting a series of virtual panel discussions, November 22 - 26, as part of its Winter School to discuss the future of platform labour, alternative visions to shape the platform economy and concrete steps to implement fairer working conditions in the sector. Full program here.