The moment is now: SOLIDAR and allies urge EU institutions to shape a just platform economy

Inter-institutional negotiations (trialogues) on the proposed Directive on improving working conditions in platform work began on 11th July. This legislative file is key to set the direction of both the present and the future of work in Europe. The adoption of a strong Directive will contribute to advance the European Social Model, uphold platform workers’ rights and shield the labour market from a negative spillover effect that would be generated if EU policymakers let digital platforms and their discriminatory algorithms make the rules.

Worried by the Council’s position that both substantially weakens the ambitious improvements put forward by the European Parliament’s report and waters down the Commission’s proposal, SOLIDAR, together with an alliance of civil society organisations and cooperative enterprises, produced a joint statement in view of the interinstitutional negotiations, calling on the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to adopt an ambitious directive on improving working conditions in platform work.

More specifically, we ask for:

  •  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. Decisions like ending an employment relationship cannot be left to an algorithm or any other artificial intelligence (AI) mechanism.
  • 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.

Together we urge EU institutions to seize this precious opportunity to make the platform economy more equal, to shape a platform economy that champions social rights including via digitalisation, respects working conditions, and is co-developed with workers and trade unions.

Read and download the letter here.

Find out more about SOLIDAR’s work on platform economy in the section below this page.

Credits image: Nelson Antoine via Shutterstock