EU ends free ride for platforms

Responding to the European Commission’s proposal for a directive on working conditions in platform work, ETUC Confederal Secretary Ludovic Voet said:

“For too long platform companies have made huge profits by dodging their most basic obligations as employers at the expense of workers, responsible employers and underfunded public services. The free ride for Uber, Deliveroo and Amazon and their cronies is finally coming to an end.

“The proposed directive simply ensures workers will now access rights, like paid holiday and sick pay, which have been standard for other workers for the best part of a century. A secure contract with guaranteed wages will give workers far more freedom than fake self-employment, which gave workers no choice whether to wait unpaid between jobs or keep working when they were ill. The Directive can also ensure genuinely self-employed people are protected from subordination by platforms.

“This directive provides long overdue certainty for workers who will no longer face having to take a multinational company to court in order to have something as basic as an employment contract. It also provides a level playing field for responsible businesses who faced unfair competition from platforms.

“The trade union movement can be proud of having made strong demands over the past two years for a presumption of employment relationship and the reversal of the burden of the proof. After having been supported by the European Parliament, these are the options that were deemed to be the most effective by the impact assessment of the Directive.

“However, it seems some platforms have been successful in their lobbying as the directive does still set burdensome criteria to activate the presumption of employment which could defeat the point of it. In practice, criteria might legitimise subordination of self-employed workers and this would defeat the purpose of the Directive. The upcoming negotiations should resolve this problem.

“Platform companies should stop peddling myths about job losses in a desperate effort to save a broken business model. If they really care about their workers, they should get round the table with trade unions and engage in collective bargaining like all other responsible employers.”


Trade union leaders and MEPs will be giving their reaction to the publication of the directive in an online event from 3pm CET today. The event can be followed live on the ETUC’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

Participants: Agnes Jongerius MEP, Leila Chaibi MEP, Kim van Sparrentak MEP, ETUC Confederal Secretary Ludovic Voet, Uni Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig, ETF General Secretary Livia Spera and EFFAT General Secretary Kristjan Bragasson.