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Liberals in France, Estonia and Germany, and conservatives in Greece, blocked a historic opportunity to protect platform workers, deplore S&Ds


19 Feb 2024


Social Europe & Jobs

Heading to the European elections in less than four months, voters across Europe must know that liberal forces in France, Estonia and Germany, and the conservative government in Greece, have today blocked a historic opportunity to protect platform workers. They decided to turn their back on European citizens and instead, defended economic interests of digital giants. This is a big threat to the European social model, deplore the Socialists and Democrats after EU member states have just failed to confirm a historic agreement reached last week by negotiators from the European Parliament led by the S&Ds and EU member states. 

Iratxe García, the S&D president, and Elisabetta Gualmini, S&D vice-president and European Parliament’s rapporteur on the new EU legislation on platform work, said: 

“What a disgrace! We were so close to writing history by brokering a pioneering deal on protecting platform workers, but big economic interests prevailed. This wasted opportunity is about failing to protect people who give us rides, bring us food and perform many other services for us every day. It matters to all of us. Decisions like this determine in what kind of society we are going to live. We urge Europeans to take good note of this choice when deciding on which political family they will entrust their vote in June. 

“The situation today is grim. Platform workers use an app or a website to offer services in exchange for payment. Many platforms hire them as bogus self-employed, depriving them from decent wages and labour rights, defrauding public tax systems and creating unfair competition towards genuinely self-employed, SMEs, traditional companies and platforms abiding by the law. We have fought hard to improve this and ensure that the use of algorithms cannot lead to exploitation and breach of rights, nor can it be a way to circumvent law. 

“After months of relentless efforts, last week our team in the European Parliament reached a historic deal with the Belgian Presidency. This deal is historic because it would ensure an effective European legislation that would give dignity, protection and rights to platform workers. It would protect workers, preserve true self-employment, shield good employers against unfair competition, and introduce ground-breaking rules on algorithm management. All of this would safeguard the European social model and set a global gold standard in labour law.  

“Over 30 million platform workers have been watching us. All of Europe, and many beyond our borders, have been watching us. Today, liberal forces in France, Estonia and Germany, and the conservative government in Greece, failed to deliver protection to all workers in the digital era. They wasted an opportunity for Europeans to become the pioneers in global labour law.”