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S&Ds: Today’s Uber hearing is another stark reminder that we urgently need ambitious legislation to protect platform workers


25 Oct 2022


Global Europe

The public hearing on the Uber files scandal, organised today at 16:30 by the European Parliament’s employment committee, is another stark reminder that we urgently need ambitious legislation to guarantee full protection of platform workers. Ever since the unprecedented revelations of Uber’s abusive practices*, we have been insisting that platform workers must be considered employees with all applicable rights. Ensuring the protection of all workers in the digital era is one of the biggest challenges of our time.

The S&Ds have been leading the campaign for passing EU laws to better protect platform workers. Following up on a European Parliament own initiative report co-authored by S&D MEP Elisabetta Gualmini, the European Commission in December 2021 proposed a directive to that effect.

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

“Shocking revelations about Uber’s methods of trampling workers’ rights to drive profits up were a painful reminder that we need to step up our efforts to guarantee workers’ rights for all platform workers.

“Uber pushed some governments to deregulate markets and create a third category of workers: self-employed with no rights and no freedom under the mercy of the digital platform. The company has been investing heavily in aggressive lobbying at all levels and I urge my colleagues in this house not to be susceptible to their lobbying and to stop defending their labour exploitation methods. It is shocking to see that even after the scandal broke, there are still MEPs and member states who are willing henchmen of the transport company Uber.

“Ahead of today’s Uber hearing, we are again calling for urgent action to shield platform workers from exploitation through abusive business. We are committed to this fight.”

Elisabetta Gualmini, S&D MEP and Parliament negotiator on the platform workers’ directive, said:

“Due to being misclassified as self-employed, platform workers are denied basic social rights and paid low wages, as well as exposed to precarious and dangerous working conditions. The S&Ds are campaigning for platform workers to be considered as employees, except for those who are genuinely self-employed. We want to protect workers and of course good employers.”

“The European Parliament’s employment committee will vote on my report on better protecting platform workers, at the end of November. This vote will show whether other political groups support workers and good employers, or platforms that are abusing the opportunities of the digital era.”

*Note to editors:

In July, the unprecedented leak spanning more than 5 years and 124,000 documents exposed the ethically questionable practices of Uber. Today, the Parliament’s employment committee will hear out the whistleblower Mark MacGann, former Head of Public Policy at Uber, who exposed the company’s abusive business models.