MEP Elisabetta Gualmini (S&D, Italy) presented her report on the proposal for a directive on improving working conditions in the context of work via a platform to members of the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee on 19 May.
The use of automated systems – algorithmic management – to match labour supply and demand cannot justify poor working conditions, says the report. “Self-employment is now the norm for many platform workers. Yet working conditions too often tell a different story. We can only ensure that workers enjoy labour rights if their employment status is properly identified. On the basis of their actual working conditions, workers will be presumed to be employees, and in the event of a dispute, it will be up to the platforms to prove otherwise. Competent national authorities and labour inspectorates will apply this legal presumption proactively to avoid misclassification and disputes”, said Elisabetta Gualmini.
The MEP also explained that the directive should be ambitious and go beyond platform work. She proposed that the provisions on algorithmic management should apply to all workers subject to automated and semi-automated systems as regards their working conditions or the organisation of their work. The scope of application of the Directive would then be considerably extended.
The invited experts expressed divergent positions:
- Platform representatives stressed the need for flexibility to preserve their competitiveness and innovation; they also argued that people who would choose to be self-employed because of flexibility would refuse a ‘rigid’ job.
- Trade union/employee representatives called for legal certainty for workers, whether self-employed or subordinate, and for greater transparency of algorithms. They stressed that EU workers need common rules guaranteeing equal treatment and that flexibility is an important element that should not be at the expense of minimum health and social protection.
EUROGIP report on the protection of platform workers in Europe (in French with an abstract in English)