Consultation Launched to Improve Conditions for Those Working Through Digital Platforms in the EU

Consultation Launched to Improve Conditions for Those Working Through Digital Platforms in the EU

The EU Commission today launched its first stage of consultation with European social partners on improving working conditions for those engaging in work through digital labour platforms.

The purpose of the consultation is to invite the views of European trade unions and employers’ organisations on the need and direction of possible EU action to improve the working conditions of people working through digital labour platforms active in the EU.

Approximately 11% of the EU workforce say they have already provided services through a platform. The work is typically organized through a platform with three parties involved, the online platform, the client and the worker with the provision of services on demand.

The Coronavirus crisis which has resulted in significant increases in those engaged in the platform economy combined with the cross-border nature of digital platforms have led to the EU initiative to improve the working conditions for people working through platforms.

A statement from the Commission said that platform work is developing rapidly in the EU across a growing number of business sectors with the coronavirus crisis having accelerated the digital transformation and the expansion of platform business models in the internal market.

While working through digital platforms offers flexibility, job opportunities and additional revenue, including for those who previously found it difficult to enter the traditional labour market, it gives rise to challenges relating to employment status, working conditions, access to adequate social protection and access to collective representation and bargaining.

The onset of the Coronavirus crisis has served to further highlight the vulnerable situation of those engaged in the platform economy, both in terms of exposure to health and safety risks and limited access to social protection and benefits.

Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, said, ‘In the midst of the digital transition, we cannot lose sight of the basic principles of our European social model. We should make the most of the job creating potential that comes with digital labour platforms, while ensuring dignity, respect and protection for the people that work through them. Social partners’ views on this will be key in finding a balanced initiative for platform work in the EU.’

The consultation will be open for at least a six week period.

Photo by ishane/creativecommons.org CC BY 2.0

Antoinette Tyrrell is a writer and journalist who started her career in print and broadcast journalism in Ireland. An English and History graduate of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, she worked for 11 years in corporate public relations for Irish Government bodies in the Foreign Direct Investment and Energy sectors.

She is the founder of GoWrite, a business writing and public relations consultancy. Her work has appeared in a range of national and international media and trade publications. She is also a traditionally published novelist of commercial fiction.

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