The time is now: Trade unions challenge platform companies right after landmark vote on EU law on Platform work

Amsterdam, 26 April 2024: On 24 and 25 April, German NGG, Dutch FNV and French FO trade unions met in Amsterdam to discuss strategy and engagement with platform companies.

Following Wednesday’s landmark vote in the European Parliament on the EU Platform Directive, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and the European Federation of Trade Unions in the Food, Agriculture and Tourism (EFFAT) have joined the action to promote trade union cooperation and develop trade union strategies for organising and collective bargaining.

The vote in the European Parliament sets a favourable climate, with new opportunities finally given to platform workers including:

  • The recognition of employment status
  • The regulation of algorithmic management in the workplace
  • The recognition of the right to organise and to collective bargaining in platforms

The transposition of the directive into national law and enforcement will be key.

National experiences
Recent experience with national legislation in many countries including Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, and Portugal highlights the challenges of enforcement. Some platform companies such as Glovo and Uber Eats failing to apply the Riders Law in Spain, accruing massive fines, and continually appealing in the courts. This is in the context of other companies applying the law in Spain at considerable cost. In Belgium, platform companies say the new law on platform work does not apply to them. In France, the government and platforms have failed to recognise the employment status of platform workers and introduced a so called ‘social dialogue’ to avoid recognising platform workers as employees.

In the Netherlands, FNV have fought in the courts for recognition of riders and drivers as employees, for application of collective labour agreements and pension rights. Although recent court wins against Deliveroo and Uber offer hope, there efforts have been resisted at every level by some platform companies.

In Germany, NGG is calling for the application of a collective agreement for riders to improve wages and working conditions for all riders.

The employment model of platform work cannot be undermined by companies who fail to play by the rules and provide their workers with employment, social insurance, and pension rights. This puts companies that apply employment model at a severe disadvantage and has resulted in some companies changing their employment model or leaving the country altogether. As was the case recently in France. This is a very concerning development for platform workers.

EFFAT and ETF call on all platform companies to negotiate fair redundancy plans with representative trade unions. Platform workers made redundant need a social plan to support them in finding alternative employment and income sources.

Platform companies also need to recognise the importance of collective bargaining and negotiate in good faith with representative trade unions. This includes offering a fair living wage to their employees with extra pay for night and weekend work as is the norm in other economic sectors.

Kristjan Bragason, EFFAT Secretary General said: EFFAT is proud to be in Amsterdam to support our affiliates in their engagement with platform companies.  After this week’s vote in the European Parliament, the landscape is readier for more viable industrial relation in platform work and for a time where platform workers are finally given the rights they deserve.

Livia Spera, General Secretary of the ETF, said: ‘The directive shows what can be achieved when workers, trade unions, politicians and policymakers work together. We must continue this approach for the transposition and enforcement of the directive. Our affiliates will continue to hold platform companies to account and push national authorities to act to help ensure platform workers get their rights.’

Trade unions across Europe will continue have a key role in using the directive and national laws to hold platform companies to account especially in a rapidly changing sectors of food delivery and ride hailing.

ENDS

EFFAT | EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture, and Tourism Trade Unions, also representing domestic workers. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 116 national trade unions from 37 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 25 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations, and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.

ETF | The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) is a pan-European trade union organisation which embraces transport trade unions from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Central and Eastern European countries. The ETF was created in 1999, but we have our roots in pan-European transport trade union organisations that stretch back over 60 years. Today, the ETF represents more than 5 million transport workers from more than 200 transport unions and 38 European countries. These workers are found in all parts of the transport industry, on land, sea, and in the air. ETF is a recognised EU-level social partner in 7 sectoral social dialogue committees, including inland waterways. We are also a proud member of the ETUC and the ITF family.

 

 

 

Follow us

Read our last newsletter

Campaigns


Events