On Wednesday 7 July, the Belgian government announced that it will launch a forum for consultation on work in platform companies. The consultation will be conducted via an online forum, that will be launched in September. Workers through platform companies as well as users, partner traders and the platform companies themselves will be invited to submit their contributions. The consultation should allow to gather information on work in platform companies in Belgium before launching a legislative process, and to evaluate the functioning of existing labour law and whether it should be adapted to ensure better working conditions and social protection to workers in platform companies. Following the consultation, a legislative proposal will be drafted in 2022.
(update: 01/03/2021) As of 8 March, authorities in Brussels will enforce rules stating that ride services must be booked at least three hours in advance and that any bookings through mobile radiocommunication, including phones and geo-localisation, are forbidden. These rules were written to define differences between a taxi and a limousine service and, according to the Taxi Plan drawn up by the Brussels government in 2018, platforms such as Uber are subject to the same rules as taxis and limousines. Rudi Vervoort (Minister of the Mobility Committee) explained that the problem lies with the use of a phone during the ride. He explained that Uber does its best to work around certain rules by classifying itself as a limousine, but must then respect the rule regarding the use of phones. Indeed, in January 2021, behaviour by Uber has been defined as “frauduleux” by the Brussels Court of Appeal. These rules are, however, under revision by the Constitutional Court. According to the FGBT, the taxi sector should be able to exploit modern technologies and apps, without this impacting on working conditions and wages
(update: 18/02/2021) On 13 January 2021, the Administrative committee on work relations issued a decision on an Uber driver’s working conditions, stating that they are incompatible with a self-employed status. The Uber driver in question filed his complaint in July 2020 with the support of the CSC United Freelancers. The committee analysed the legal framework in which the Uber driver carries out his activities and stated that there are reasons to consider that both Uber and BPRA (the Belgian Platform Rider Association) are this driver’s employers. On 18 February 2021, Uber brought this decision to Court. United Freelancers now worries about a possible long delay before the Court issues a decision
(update: 04/02/2021) Danish trade union 3F and the employers’ organisation Dansk Erhverv reached a national sectoral agreement for delivery riders valid from 2021 to 2023. The agreement will cover Just Eat’s riders, but 3F doesn’t plan to stop at this victory and is currently working on bringing other platforms on board. In line with the new Danish agreement, riders will receive a base hourly wage of DKK 124.20 (c. 16.6 EUR) from 1 March 2021, and it will rise to DKK 127.35 (c. 17.10 EUR) from 1 March 2022. Additional benefits are also included. Normal weekly working time was set to a minimum of 8 hours and up to 37 hours, with overtime allowed up to 44 hours in total. Among other provisions, a platform company will be also obliged to provide their employees with a vehicle (or an allowance if the employee has its own), work clothes and safety equipment
(update: 14/10/2020) On 26 August, the Danish Competition Authority (DCCA) published news of its assessment that both Hilfr and Freelancehilfrs/Superhilfrs were undertakings, and that Freelancehilfrs/Superhilfrs, most likely, are not employees of Hilfr from a competition law point of view. This was primarily because Hilfr does not carry the financial risk for the Freelancehilfrs/Superhilfrs work. Hilfr offered commitments in order to meet the concerns expressed by the DCCA, including ensuring that SuperHilfrs are employees in relation to competition law, which was its intention when entering into the collective agreement with 3F. The ruling by the Dutch Competition authority was defined “misguided” by commentators
(Date: 08/07/2021) Service Union United (Pam) announced in July that it has asked a district court to rule on the case of one of its members who had worked as a courier for Wolt, a Finnish food delivery platform.
Pam explained in a press release that the action revolves around the question of whether the courier can be viewed to have had an employment relationship with Wolt. Another key question is linked to the receivables the courier is, according to this interpretation, entitled to under the working hours and annual holidays acts. The legal action is founded on a statement issued by the employment council of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy last October. The council ruled that an employment relationship exists between food couriers and platform providers Wolt and Foodora.
(Date: 23/06/2021) On 23 June 2021, the Finnish Accident Insurance Centre (TVK) issued three rulings on whether the Accident at Work and Occupational Diseases Act applies to food transport work carried out by a caterer.
In two of the rulings, the TVK held that the food transport work carried out by the food delivery service was carried out in the context of an employment contract within the meaning of the Employment Contracts Act and that the employer was a platform company. Therefore, the work was carried out as an employee under the Occupational Accidents and Diseases Act and the employer was responsible for insuring it.
In one ruling, the TVK held that the food delivery work carried out by a food delivery service was not carried out under an employment contract within the meaning of the Employment Contracts Act. This is work carried out as a self-employed person under the Occupational Accidents and Diseases Act, and the self-employed person himself is responsible for insuring it.
The decisions are based on an assessment of the actual working conditions and take into account the conditions for carrying out and commissioning the work agreed in the contract of employment. In all three rulings, the TVK considered that all the individual elements of the employment relationship were met, but that an overall assessment was still necessary.
(update: 16/10/2020) On 15 October, Finland's Labour Council said that it regards food couriers as employees, not entrepreneurs. The Council, which operates under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, issues opinions on the application and interpretation of laws regarding working time, annual leave, occupational safety and the protection of workers. Although the opinions of the Labour Council are non-binding, they nevertheless offer important guidelines.
The Minister of Labour Haatainen said that the Finnish government is committed to identifying any need for legislative changes around the platform economy and that the Council’s recommendations will be considered in the preparations.
(update: 07/05/2021) The hiring process was launched in Nantes on 6 May 2021 and brought to the recruitment of 45 riders within the first hours. The overall target is to hire 250 riders in Nantes by the end of the year.
(update: 30/01/2021) On Sunday 31 January, Just Eat – a daughter company of Takeaway.com – made official its decision to employ its riders. For now, this step has led to the recruitment of 350 riders in Paris last November (2020). By the end of 2021, Just Eat plans to hire 4,500 riders in 30 French cities. They will be offered an open-ended contract, with weekly working time between 10 and 35 hours.
(update: 21/04/2021) The decree 2021-484 on “modes of representation of self-employed workers who carry out their activities on platform companies, and on the conditions to carry out such representation” (Ordonnance n° 2021-484 du 21 avril 2021 relative aux modalités de représentation des travailleurs indépendants recourant pour leur activité aux plateformes et aux conditions d'exercice de cette representation) was published on the Official journal on 21 April 2021. Following the publication of this decree, the first elections will take place in a year and will be carried out on a national basis. The decree includes the following points: scope; which organisations, including trade unions, may represent workers in platform companies; criteria to determine representativeness of these organisations; how workers support for these organisations is measured (elections); the selection of representatives; protection granted to representatives; representatives’ training and time for delegation activities; the “Authority for social relations of platform companies” (l’Autorité des relations sociales des plateformes d’emploi), including its mission, composition, organisation and functioning.
According to UNSA, this decree consolidates in the law the existence of a specific regime for self-employed workers who provide their services through platform companies.
(update: 12/03/2021) A taskforce appointed in January this year, to define the way social dialogue for self-employed workers on digital job platforms and representation thereof should be conducted, has submitted a draft turnkey ordinance to Elisabeth Borne, the French minister for labour. The draft was the subject of a broad consultation which, although not unanimous, was met with broad support according to on the the moderators Bruno Mettling, former human resources director at Orange. The aim is that the implementation of collective bargaining arrangements allows for the establishment of rights for such workers. This requires, first of all, the emergence of legitimate actors. To this end, a ballot is to be organised from the first quarter of 2022, via an electronic vote that will be supervised by a national authority for platforms.
(update: 07/01/2021) As the Frouin mission has come to its end and its report discarded, the French Ministry of employment charged a new task force of three experts with the drafting of a proposal for a decree on social dialogue in the digital platforms sector. The decree must be issued by the end of April 2021. After this first task, the taskforce will also touch upon other possible aspects of platform work, including social protection, that could be partially integrated in the draft Social security financing bill at the end of the year. The taskforce is led by Bruno Mettling, President of Orange Middle East and Africa, who will be supported by Pauline Trequesser, founder of the collective Cosme and of Vélo-Boulot-Bordeaux, and by Mathias Dufour, President of the think-tank #leplusimportant and co-author of “Désubériser, reprendre le contrôle”.
(update: 02/12/2020) On 2 December 2020, Jean-Yves Frouin, former president of the social chamber of the Court of cassation, handed to the Prime minister his report, by the title “Regulating digital labour platforms”. The report argues against establishing a third status for platform workers. It proposes that, after 6 to 12 months of activity and a given income threshold, drivers and riders must join a third party organisation that will provide them with employee status and the relevant protection without impacting on their autonomy. Aside from the proposals included in the report, of particular interest are the arguments against the employee status presumption and on the obstacles posed by competition law.
(update: 29/10/2020) A law passed in 2019 introduced into the labour code a provision allowing ride-hailing platforms to draw up a social responsibility charter governing a number of aspects of the relationship between drivers and the platform. This charter would have to be approved by the labour administration. Conditions for this approval were published on 23 October in a decree
(update: 21/12/2020) Employees of the online retailer Amazon went on strike at several locations in a protest against precarious wages. Trade union Verdi had called for strikes at various locations as it sought to push Amazon into recognition of the collective agreements which are commonly established between trade unions and employer associations.
(update: 01/12/2020) Prior to the Government’s Digital Agenda Summit in Berlin (30 November – 01 December), Employment and Social Affairs Minister Hubertus Heil opened a discussion on labour conditions and labour law in the platform economy, which will provide material for formulating draft legislation on the issue. On 27 November, Minister Heil posted a document containing the key points around which he hopes the discussion will revolve. Main proposals include: making platforms accountable; Reinforcing social protection; Simplifying the enforcement of workers rights; Ensuring fair working conditions; Allowing control of contractual conditions; Increasing transparency: introducing information and statistics obligations. No legislative timetable has currently been set.
(update: 10/03/2021) The Government is to review employment law concerning workers in the so-called gig economy. It follows a meeting between Tánaiste and Minister for Trade Leo Varadkar and Deliveroo riders who were accompanied by union representatives and groups representing immigrants. Many of the riders are students from Brazil who do not qualify for self-employed work with their visas and so have to rent accounts from others. They would like a more secure visa status and an extension to their permission to work. Fiachra Ó Luain of the English Language Students' Union says that given the background of legal victories for workers in the gig economy in the Netherlands, Denmark and for Uber workers in Britain, the Government should be proactive in allowing Deliveroo workers to be described as employees rather than sub-contractors.
(update: 22/01/2021) On 22 January 2021, Deliveroo riders across Dublin temporarily withdrew their services in protest over their terms and conditions. In social media posts, the organisers of the protest - which began at 6pm and was scheduled to last for two hours - said their rates of pay had been “drastically reduced” last month which meant they now had to spend longer on the streets and “pedal more, to earn less”. The organisers also highlighted the “lack of security” and the level of violence riders experience and said three couriers had been attacked this week alone. Restaurants took to social media to show support for the riders. In a statement, Deliveroo denied its riders were being paid less during the pandemic and insisted that rider pay was now higher than it was before March. It said that its riders typically earned above the national minimum wage and had suggested that on average they earn €13 per hour at mealtimes, an amount that excluded additional tips they may receive. It has also pointed to distance-based fees which sees riders earn more for medium and long distance deliveries.
(Date: 29/03/2021) The Italian trade union confederations - CGIL, CISL, UIL - and Just Eat signed an important agreement which will cover workers with the provisions included in the Logistics National Collective Bargaining Agreement. Food delivery riders working for Just Eat will now have access to a fair wage, labour rights, social protection and health and safety protections. The agreement is the first in Europe regulating the food delivery sector. Italian unions underlined that, when it comes to negotiating with multinational companies governing with algorithms, there is no need to create new instruments when existing ones can, such as national collective agreements, can be used.
The agreement includes provisions on the pay scale of the workers who will be progressively employed by Just Eat. Following the conclusion of the confederal agreement, the federations finalised a company-level agreement defining the transition from a company model based on the use of self-employment and precarious work to a fairer organisational model. When fully implemented, this will lead to about 4,000 recruitments.
(Date: 06/11/2020) Following the gangmastering case in Uber Eats and with the support of the Ministry of Internal affairs, an agreement was signed in Milan between CGIL, CISL and UIL and Assodelivery, the organisation that includes Uber Italy, Glovo, Just Eat-Takeaway.com, Deliveroo and other food delivery platforms. This agreement is aimed at fighting gangmastering. With it, food delivery platforms commit to hiring their riders directly and not through third companies, until a national register of authorised companies or a similar instrument will be put in place. Trade Unions will watch over the implementation of the agreement. They consider this an important agreement that can be used also elsewhere in Italy. Assodelivery also signed another agreement with UGL.
(Date: 16/09/2020) On 16 September 2020, the Italian employers’ organisation Assodelivery, which includes the main food delivery platforms (Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Glovo, Just Eat and more), and the right-wing ‘Unione Generale del Lavoro’ UGL signed an agreement on the gig economy. The three Italian confederations CGIL, CISL and UIL declared that Assodelivery’s behaviour was “inacceptable and incomprehensible” and that it actually worsened riders’ working conditions.
(Date: 12/10/2020) Investigations on Uber Eats for gangmastering and financial crimes were closed on 12 October 2020. The Intermediary firm Flash Road City (which later became FRC srl). As a reminder, in May the Court of Milan placed Uber Eats Italy under special administration as part of an investigation into alleged gangmastering (“caporalato”) and exploitation of food delivery riders. Amongst the suspects, the managers of Flash Road City (an intermediary company used Uber Italy), as well as managers and employees of Uber Italy. More than half million euro has been seized from the managers. Uber Italia is now operating under special administration.
(Date: 16/12/2020) The Luxembourg Chamber of Employees drew up a draft law to regulate work provided via electronic platforms; according to the draft, the persons providing such work or services can (or rather must) be qualified as employees.
(update: 26/04/2021) A review into food courier contracts is still ongoing over four months after the state employment agency questioned their legality. A government spokesperson explained that the government is in the process of meeting with the relevant stakeholders. At the same time, Bolt is working on a position paper that it will send to the government in view of the adoption of much-needed regulation in the sector.
(Date: 25/01/2021) A number of recruitment companies supplying migrant workers to food delivery platforms are claimed to be in breach of Malta’s employment laws. The government is looking into practices by recruitment companies, to reveal the extent of their employment contracts and how they have been profiting from unorthodox platform work. A senior government source spoke of well-founded suspicions of precarious employment, that has driven down food supply wages and delivery costs for platform companies such as Wolt and Bolt, with almost all workers working up to 80 hours to earn just 50% of the expected monthly salary: €1,500 or even less. Migrant workers zipping around the island on their scooters are over-worked, underpaid, lacking ordinary workers’ rights, denied overtime, and treated liked self-employed contractors in breach of Maltese laws.
(Date: 15/02/2021) In a report on Temper, the Dutch Labour inspectorate stated that it is a temporary employment agency, and not a mediation platform, and that its workers are employees. Following these findings, FNV argues that all those working for Temper have a right to an employment contract in accordance with relevant collective agreements. FNV and CNV took Temper to Court in October 2020.
(Date: 17/11/2020) On 16 November, the FNV handed over a summons to Uber today in Amsterdam. With this, the union clearly indicates to the company that enough is enough. The union demands that Uber recognizes that it is an employer and that it will apply the Taxi CLA. The taxi company is given two weeks to meet the requirements of the FNV. If it fails to do so, the FNV will go to court
(Date: 09/09/2021) On 12 August 2021, under the pretext of the entry into force of Law 9/2021 (the Rider Law), Uber Eats has massively disconnected 3,000 workers, something that is understood as a collective dismissal carried out in an irregular manner. At the time of the deactivation of their accounts, workers were expecting to be hired by the company. UGT and CCOO have filed a complaint before the National Court. Following the entry into force of the Rider law, Uber Eats has only hired a small number of drivers through subcontractors. Going to Court, UGT and CCOO wish to ensure that all delivery drivers can obtain all the rights and protections established in the employment relationship. UGT and CCOO are committed to compliance with Law 9/2021 and will work to ensure that all digital delivery platforms comply with the law. For this, they announced that this will not be the last action they carry out jointly in the face of the legal breaches of digital delivery platforms.
(Date: 23/08/2021) CC.OO. de Catalunya has called a nine-day strike for workers at six Glovo supermarkets in Barcelona to demand an improvement in their working conditions. A total of 110 workers are called to strike on August 27, 28 and 29 August and on September 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12, the union informed Europa Press on Monday. Friday 27 August will be the first day of strike and workers are summoned to the company's headquarters in Barcelona, where they are expected to come with bicycles, motorcycles and scooters, to concentrate at 11:30. The aim of the strike is "to recognize that the employment relationship of the workers is structural and not temporary", as well as to make effective the indefinite hiring of the same. Translated with deepl.
(Date: 18/06/2021) The Supreme Court did not admit the appeal of Deliveroo and recognized the nullity of the dismissals of nine delivery riders who were fired after leading protests and mobilizations in Barcelona in 2017 to demand job improvements. The food delivery company will have to reintegrate these riders and pay indemnities for having infringed fundamental rights. The Labour Court of Barcelona had already found the company guilty in 2019 and was certain that some of the workers had been fired after entering the works council.
(Update: 12/05/2021) The Spanish law regulating riders was published on 12 May 2021. While much remains to be done, the Spanish trade union UGT welcomes the publication of the text.
(Date: 11/03/2021) On 11 March Spain’s Ministry of Labour announced an agreement had been secured with the social partners over a ‘Riders Law’ that frames the status of delivery riders working for digital platforms. They will be presumed as employees instead of self-employed (‘autonomos’), the platforms will have to contribute for them, and the delivery riders will benefit fully from social protection. The agreed text also states that all digital platforms (not only those operating in the home delivery sector) will have to inform workers’ representatives about the algorithms that determine working and workload conditions. Spanish trade unions underline the fact that, despite the agreement being rather limited, platforms have expressed their disappointment with it. Digital platform companies will have three months to comply.
(Date: 19/10/2020) The Spanish labour inspectorate ruled in favour of the UGT trade union and classified over 4,000 Amazon delivery workers, who operate using their own vehicles to deliver parcels under instructions from the Amazon Flex delivery platform, as employees. The inspectorate found that these delivery workers, who were paid per task without social security contributions from Amazon, were wrongly declared as autonomos (self-employed). It is therefore demanding that the company pays out the unpaid social security contributions, which the unions have calculated at some €6.16 million.
(Date: 13/04/2021) Trade unionists have come out against legislative amendments that would provide the legal basis for ride hailing platforms such as Uber to start operating in the country, arguing they often violate labour rights. Refuting the charge, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said the goal was to make transport services cheaper and more modern. Saška Kiara Kumer, secretary-general of the Trade Union of Transport and Communications Workers, said that ride hailing platforms had proved exceptionally bad for employees. Kumer urged the proposal be withdrawn and submitted for inter-departmental adjustments, arguing the Labour Ministry had not been involved and the bill should have been debated by the Economic and Social Council, an industrial relations forum. Tea Jarc of the youth Trade Union argued the bill would only reduce labour standards and expand the room for precarious work forms. She said Uber was violating worker rights because it does not recognise drivers as employees, and was undermining transport and workplace security standards. She also noted the issue of vulnerability of Uber's databases on drivers and clients. The amendments are to be debated on the relevant parliamentary committee in May, after which they will be put to a vote at the plenary session, expectedly the same month, Vrtovec said, adding that from the end of May on the door would be open to a better system of rides
(Date: 28/01/2021) After long negotiations, Foodora and the Transport section of LO have reached an agreement upon a collective agreement for couriers. If approved by the Union and the company board, the agreement will enter into function on 1 March 2021.
(Date: 01/09/2020) The multinational company from California had to change its business model to keep operating in the Swiss canton of Geneva. In an article, Unia said this decision had been long awaited and described it as an important victory. It also called on Uber Eats to apply this model over the entire Swiss territory. In practical terms, this means that workers will now have to enrol in a company, Chaskis, indicate their preferences in terms of working hours and intensity of work. They will receive a salary, they will be subject to social contributions and will be entitled to unemployment. Riders allegedly received the news with mixed feelings.
(Date: 26/08/2021) On 26 August 2021, GMB and Uber issued a joint press release inviting platform companies in the ride-hailing sector to put an end to exploitation of drivers. This press release follows a ruling by the Supreme Court on 19 February 2021 stating that Uber drivers are entitled to workers rights and the subsequent agreement between Uber and GMB allowing for drivers to be represented by the union. Uber and GMB estimate that some 200,000 drivers working for other platform companies are still denied basic rights. The press release was published after a meeting between Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, and Uber’s Jamie Heywood.
(Date: 27/05/2021) Uber has signed a landmark agreement with the GMB union that allows the union to represent its approximately 70,000 within the UK. This landmark deal marks a departure from the ride-hailing company’s longstanding opposition to any form of union representation. The agreement allows GMB representatives to now contact drivers and discuss significant issues with the group, even if Uber still refuses to set up any real collective bargaining system. GMB's National Officer Mick Rix hailed the agreement as a success. “This agreement shows gig economy companies don't have to be a wild west on the untamed frontier of employment rights," he said. "When tech private hire companies and unions work together like this, everyone benefits ... We now call on all other operators to follow suit.”
(Date: 11/12/2020) After recently adopting a similar approach in other European countries, the mobile app-based home food delivery giant Just Eat is starting to end its practice of paying per completed job. This gig economy arena revolution means Just Eat drivers can earn at least the minimum hourly wage and enjoy social benefits rights. Between now and March, more than 1,000 employment contracts will be created in London, be they part-time, full-time, or zero hour contracts (i.e. those that guarantee neither working time nor wages). However, trade unions are unhappy that the delivery workers will be employed via a temporary employment agency.
(Date: 29/10/2020) Four former Uber drivers from the UK and Portugal are accusing the US App of having ‘fired’ them using an algorithm and without giving them the right to defend themselves or receive further information, as required by Article 22 of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). They filed their complaint in an Amsterdam court. The ADCU (App Drivers and Couriers Union) is inviting other former Uber drivers from the UK and throughout the European Economic Area who have been similarly dismissed over alleged ‘fraudulent activity’ to register on its website to join the collective action which they’re hoping to part-fund via a crowdjustice campaign.