Update: MEPs voted in favour of a platform workers’ directive compromise text at the parliamentary committee on social affairs on Monday evening (12 December). More here.
Report calls on MEPs to fast-track approval of the proposed EU Platform Work Directive in upcoming vote and for additional curbs on algorithmic abuses in the gig economy
• Crucial European Parliament committee vote on Monday to determine the future of the proposed EU Platform Work Directive
• Directive set to provide a regulatory template likely to be replicated by regulators around the world seeking to curb gig economy abuses
• Report calls for speedy progress of the directive
• Report identifies key gaps in the proposed regulation which still need to be addressed
• Report identifies the need for prohibition of harmful technologies used by platform employers such as those to predict worker behaviour and to set variable & personalised pay in real time
• Report already endorsed by 11 trade unions and gig worker representative organisations
• On December 20th, the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam will hand down its judgment in case brought by WIE against Uber & Ola Cabs for inadequate algorithmic transparency
Worker Info Exchange (WIE) and Observatorio de Trabajo Algoritmo y Sociedad (TAS) has issued a report and called on MEPs on Monday to vote in favour of the compromise package of amendments of the proposed EU Platform Work Directive.
The proposed directive seeks to end the problem of misclassification so that those who are truly self-employed have the entrepreneurial freedom to develop their businesses while those who are under control of employment are provided appropriate rights. Key to this is securing a presumption of employment where the burden of proof is placed squarely upon platform companies.
The directive also provides for key protections against unfair and predatory algorithmic management including full transparency on automated decision making, the right to effective human oversight & review and the right of workers to be consulted.
However, in their report WIE and TAS highlight that even the proposed directive falls short in key areas including:
1. the need to define protected working time to encompass standby time.
2. failure to prohibit algorithmic setting of variable (dynamic pay) pay in real time which is already known to cause harms to workers and consumers.
3. ban on the use of predictive profiling of worker behaviour
4. ban on automated dismissal of workers
However, given that the EU Platform Directive already falls short in key areas, WIE, TAS and the 11 endorsing trade unions and worker representative organisations are demanding immediate approval of the compromise package of amendments so that the proposed directive can quickly proceed to the next stages.
Separately, the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam is set to rule on December 20th in WIE’s case against Uber and Ola Cabs for inadequate algorithmic transparency and for unfair automated dismissal of workers.
James Farrar, Director of Worker Info Exchange said:
We need to see a faster pace of progress towards implementation of the directive, not least because new technology is already outpacing the scope of proposed regulation. For example, in the past year we have seen platforms increasingly use super predatory technologies, known to cause serious harms, such as dynamic pay setting, worker behavioural profiling and biometric authentication. In our report we have called for control or prohibition of these technologies. What happens with this directive in Europe will serve as a template for regulation all over the world, so it is vital that European legislators act quickly and make wise choices.
Sergi Cuttilas, Director of Observatorio de Trabajo Algoritmo y Sociedad (TAS) said:
The vote on Monday is a very important moment for European workers. Labour rights that now are being denied to them across the EU can finally be recognized. The proposal by the Parliament must be passed so that it can proceed to negotiate with the European Council. However, it is very important that in the coming negotiation the proposal is improved and incorporates the elements described in the document written by our organizations. More specifically, practices related to pay must change. For example, dynamic pay must be prohibited and waiting time has to be considered working time and remunerated.