European Roundtable on Unpaid Labour in the Platform Economy

On Thursday 9 December, SOLIDAR organised its online 2021 European Roundtable titled “Unpaid Labour in the Platform Economy”. The objective of the Roundtable was to present the findings of SOLIDAR’s thematic publication realised by two researchers from KU Leuven, Valeria Pulignano and Claudia Marà, about one intrinsic – yet little explored – feature of platform economy: unpaid labour. The study, titled “Working for nothing in the platform economy: Forms and institutional contexts of unpaid labour”, covers three main sectors of the platform economy (food delivery, care services and freelancing) and analyses several platforms and institutional contexts in 5 European countries: Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands.  

Agnes Jongerius, S&D MEP and spokesperson on employment and social affairs, set the scene with a keynote speech in which she underlined the importance of regulating the platform economy to ensure and protect workers’ rights. Following the keynote speech, the main findings of the study were presented, along with some policy recommendations. After the presentation of the reserach, an exchange among experts in the domain of platform economy took place. They tried to identify possible ways to contrast the negative implications that platform work has in terms of workers’ rights and proposed points of actions for decision makers. The roundtable gathered speakers from CSOs, EU institutions and the academia: 

  • Carlos Manuel Trindade, Member of EESC Workers Group   
  • Fausto Durante, Trade Unionist, CGIL  
  • Stefan Kirchner, Head of department: Digitization of the world of work, Technische Universität Berlin. 

The speakers and the researchers had the opportunity to interact with the audience in the Q&A session, during which they went more into detail on their propositions and ideas. 

On the same day as our event, the European Commission presented a proposal to improve the working conditions of people working through digital labour platforms. This contemporaneity shows the timeliness and relevance of SOLIDAR’s publication and of the debate more broardly. 

Did you miss the Round Table? Watch the recording