ETUC on Digital Services & Markets Acts

The European Commission will publish its Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts on Tuesday 14 December.

The ETUC, while conscious that the Acts do not touch directly upon the (lack of) rights of platform workers, believe the Acts will better define the legal liability of online platform companies like Facebook and Amazon - which the ETUC believes is urgently required fully justified, and has given them an unfair advantage over other businesses.  

In particular, the ETUC will be looking at the Acts to see if they

  • Significantly strengthen the liability of online platforms, protect users from harmful content and abusive practices and empower users to take action. It is important to note that users are not only consumers and businesses, but also workers in the platform economy.
  • Adjust the power imbalance between platforms and users with enhanced requirements such as transparency, access to complaint mechanisms and prevention of lock-in effects.
  • Give liability exemptions to labour intensive platforms like Uber. Such platforms are not ‘intermediaries’ but do clearly exercise knowledge and control over their workers and the services they provide.
  • Enable Member States to enforce all rules that apply to offline services on their territory, also when provided through an online platform. Digital innovation must not be allowed to circumvent applicable rules.
  • Ensure that people employed by online platforms to monitor illegal and harmful content have decent working conditions, in full respect of fundamental rights and occupational health and safety, and not in the digital equivalent of sweatshops with exploitative pay and bad conditions.

ETUC Confederal Secretary Isabelle Schömann said

“The two Digital Acts should represent a much-needed step forward in the liability of online platforms.

“The Acts will not solve the problems of precarious employment and bogus self-employment created by online platforms. But they need to make it possible to guarantee decent work for digital workers in the digital economy, and not create exemptions.”