Friday, July 1

The EU will force the regularization of four million digital platform workers

  • Brussels establishes that these companies must hire those who work as false freelancers and inform them of their algorithms

  • The European directive follows in the footsteps of the Spanish ‘Rider Law’, but seeks to go beyond delivery companies such as Glovo or Deliveroo

See to dealers driving against the clock and loaded with their backpacks has become a common image in large European cities. The arrival of the digital platforms has transformed the continent’s economy, but that expansion has come at the cost of precariousness of its workers. To reverse this lack of social rights, the European Comission (CE) approved this Thursday a directive that sets the minimum conditions for regular employment in this sector and that will force the hiring of up to 4.1 million employees who currently work as fake freelancers.

Thus, the community executive follows in the footsteps of the Spanish distributors’ law, better known as the ‘Rider Law’, which came into force on August 12. Spanish regulations forced platforms such as Glovo O Deliveroo to hire their delivery men –which led the latter to stop operating in the country–, however the European proposal goes further and aims to regularize the situation of platform workers in other sectors that also exploit this legal vacuum such as Amazon O Uber, among other.

The directive approved by Brussels establishes that “people who work through platforms have, or can obtain, the employment situation in the light of its real relationship with the digital labor platform ”. In this way, he emphasizes that these workers should be considered as employees, a decision that has been remarked by the vast majority of the courts in the hundreds of labor disputes that the sector lives. In other words, those companies must abide by the law.

The change from false self-employed to salaried workers is not small. The model used so far by most of these companies obliges workers to pay their share of the Social Security, pay bills for your vehicle (when it comes to delivery men) or mobile phone, not having a fixed schedule and not having the right to leave or paid vacations. Being hired is equivalent to having the right to all those points, as well as being able to collect a minimum wage (SMI), have a pension and be able to be part of the Collective negotiation. A study cited by the EC indicates that 55% of these platform workers earn less per hour than what the SMI of their country sets or that they work up to 8.9 hours per week without being paid.

Algorithm transparency

On the other hand, platforms must also publicly report the operation of their algorithms, which are used to assign tasks, monitor and evaluate work and even impose sanctions on workers. This system, according to Brussels, “has an important impact on the working conditions” of these employees and “hides the existence of subordination and control by the platform over the people who carry out the work”, therefore it requires greater transparency and human control that guarantees respect for labor rights.

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The European directive establishes that in the event that the platform wants to challenge the appointment of its workers as employees, it will be up to it to demonstrate that there is no employment relationship between both parties. If the worker is the one who wants to operate as a autonomous authentic and not as a member of the regular team, the platform must guarantee an “adequate resolution” of your request.

According to EC calculations, currently between 235 and 355 platforms operate in the European Union and they employ about 28.1 million people, a figure that in 2025 could skyrocket to 43 million. Of those, some 5.5 million may be in an irregular situation. Before being fixed in the national laws of the 27 countries of the community club, the directive must pass through the European Parliament and the European Council.

Reference-www.elperiodico.com

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