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S&Ds proud of historic deal on platform work setting a global social standard


13 Dec 2023


Global Europe

History has been made today by reaching a provisional agreement on the landmark new EU legislation on platform work. During the marathon negotiations in Strasbourg, the European Parliament under the leadership of the Socialists and Democrats, and EU member states under the leadership of the Spanish presidency, agreed on a revolutionary compromise that sets a new global social standard. The S&Ds now urge EU member states to endorse it, as it is key to finalise this law by the end of this legislative term.

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

“We can be happy and proud of the historic, balanced and far-reaching agreement on platform work that was negotiated today under the Spanish Presidency. For the first time in the world, under huge pressure from aggressive lobbying by big digital companies, we are creating a legislation that will protect the most vulnerable workers. This is ultimately about strengthening the European social model and setting a global social standard.

“The new legislation will significantly improve the social and labour rights of gig earners working for Uber, Deliveroo, Helpling, and similar platforms. At the same time, it will protect the genuinely self-employed by securing their autonomy, freedom, and flexibility, as well as shield good employers against unfair competition.

“The new law gives EU member states a basis to correctly determine the contractual status of people performing platform work. Our agreement ensures a mechanism to correct bogus self-employment, based on the actual working conditions and transparency of algorithms. It guarantees that trade unions and worker representatives will be able to collectively bargain on platform working conditions. It shifts the burden of proof of the type of contractual relationship from the gig workers to the platforms.

“We do not want an inhumane labour market. That is why we are especially proud that today’s agreement wards off dehumanisation of the labour market by ensuring human oversight and interactions - with this directive, never again will a machine fire people or spy on them.”

Agnes Jongerius, MEP and S&D spokesperson on employment and social rights, added: 

“With today’s historic agreement, we are truly the pioneers in the global labour law. It is high time to change the game of the gig economy and make sure that this often exploitative labour market model does not spread to other job sectors. If we do not act to protect the most vulnerable people in the economy today, we risk precarious work spreading everywhere tomorrow.

“We have been the driving force for passing EU laws to adequately protect all earners, also those working through the apps. We must shield them against abuse by the web giants. This is one of the major challenges of the digital era. Today, over 28 million people in the EU work through digital labour platforms. In 2025, their number is expected to reach 43 million.

“For all these reasons, we now urge EU member states to endorse this revolutionary deal. Time is of the essence. We must ensure that this law is finalised by the end of this parliamentary term.”

Note to editors:

Platform workers use an app or a website to offer services in exchange for payment. This kind of work is currently presented by many platforms as a non-standard form of employment. Therefore, the social and labour rights of people working through apps and websites are not enshrined in standard labour legislation, which leaves many online earners with less protection than offline workers. It also creates unfair competition between the gig economy and traditional companies.

The main objective of the new legislation – the directive on improving conditions in platform work – is to enshrine a rebuttable presumption of an employment relationship in EU law. This means platform workers are, in principle, employees with all applicable rights. If the platform companies disagree, it must be up to them to prove otherwise.