Letter to European Parliament President Roberta Metsola regarding Uber Files investigation

Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament

Dragoş Pîslaru, Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs at the European Parliament

Dear Ms Metsola,
Dear Mr Pîslaru,

Certainly, you are aware of the documents made available by different media revealing Uber’s lobbying malpractices towards the EU institutions and Member States.

In light of this scandal and the ongoing legislative procedure of the proposal for a Directive on improving working conditions in platform work, the European Trade Union Confederation hereby request the European Parliament to conduct an investigation into Uber’s advocacy of EU Institutions. Also, Uber lobbyists should have their accreditations suspended until the conclusion of this investigation.

Throughout the EU and at global level, Uber has been very active in the policy debate with arguments against any regulation which may hinder their business model, which is based on operating in a legislative vacuum to maximise benefits and setting the risk on the shoulders of the workers.

The leaked papers evidence that the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company has hired government officials and academics to persuade with its misleading narrative, promoted social unrest between taxi and Uber workers, and prevented inspectors from accessing evidence. Other proof showed that Uber held 12 meetings with the European Commission which were not previously disclosed, and that Neelie Kroes – former European Commission vice-president with responsibility for digital policy – secretly lobbied on the company’s behalf.

This behaviour is an evident dereliction by the European institutions in their duty to promote transparency and ethical interest representation.

The European Parliament is immersed in its work as co-legislator to deliver a report in autumn 2022 following the Commission’s proposal for a Directive. The European Council intends to reach its mandate within the term of the Czech Presidency of the European Union, which will be followed by tripartite negotiations in view of enacting the legislation in early 2023. The rights of millions of workers through digital labour platforms are at stake and European citizens deserve a thorough investigation to clarify and prevent any undue influence of Uber in the current democratic legislative procedure.

Yours truly,

Luca Visentini, ETUC General Secretary
Ludovic Voet, ETUC Confederal Secretary