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Improving the working conditions of platform workers

Following a first stage consultation, in June 2021, the European Commission has launched a second-stage consultation of European social partners in order to receive further information on how to improve the working conditions of people working through digital labour platforms. Digital labour platforms play a key role in the digital transition of the European economy, as EU digital labour platform economy has grown from an estimated €3 billion in 2016 to about €14 billion in 2020. Hence, these platforms enhance competitiveness, bring innovation and create jobs. Nevertheless, platform work may result in precarious working conditions and inadequate access to social protection for many people working via these platforms.

For this reason, the Commission concluded that there is a need to ensure basic labour standards and rights to people working through these platforms. According to Nicolas Schmit (Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights) “online platforms bring innovation and new services to consumers. But they must also offer those people working through them the high level of social standards that we expect”.

The major challenge in platform work relates to the employment status of digital platform workers as it determines whether these people have the right to access existing labour rights and protection. Furthermore, platform workers can be subject to automated decisions made by algorithms without a possibility to question the decision and seek redress, and they often have limited access to collective representation and bargaining.

The aim of the second-stage consultation is to get the social partners’ opinions on how to ensure that people working through platforms have decent working conditions, while supporting the sustainable growth of digital labour platforms in the EU. Social partners are invited to respond to the questions in the consultation by 15 September 2021.