Is EU directive for platform work good for couriers?
Yesterday we got a notification that platforms are sending letters to couriers and riders suggesting to sign a petition against the proposed EU directive for platform work. The companies claim that if the directive is approved, the platform workers will be automatically recognized as employed and they will lose the freedom to choose their work hours.
These statements about the directive are untrue and misleading. The proposed EU directive does not ban self-employed or flexible work time schedules. The platforms do not like this directive because it restricts their abilities to control your work and remuneration.
The proposed directive sets clear rules on when the self-employed platforms workers could claim employment status. If 2 of 5 conditions are met, the platform worker could claim for employment status. The platforms could not set:
upper limits on the amount of money workers can receive
supervision of performance, including by electronic means
control over the distribution or allocation of tasks
control over working conditions and restrictions on choosing working hours
restrictions on their freedom to organise their work and rules on their appearance or conduct
Therefore, the platforms that want to stay in self-employed format, will NOT be able to control your work, create a remuneration systems that would instill more competition.
Is EU directive for platform work a good thing?
According to the EU commission, there are around 28 million workers in this sector, out of which around 5.5 million workers are misclassified as self employed (bogus employment). If the directive is approved, couriers will have the right to make a claim for employment status if they want and the responsibility for proving that the work is based on self-employment will fall on the company. At the moment, the courier would have to hire a lawyer and go to court if they want to prove that the platforms are misclassifying their status.
A common legal framework for the EU market is needed because some of the platforms avoid paying taxes or covering social securities of their workers by claiming “self-employed” status. It creates unfair competition and drives wages and labor market standards down.
While the platforms claim that couriers and drivers are partners, the relation between the worker and the platform is not equal. Long term employees face many depreciation costs in gig work that must be covered by themselves, vulnerable individuals experience larger disadvantages and risks. Banning of accounts are not transparent as well as algorithms that affect the work are not disclosed to the courier. Also, the platforms do not provide information to state institutions on how many people are employed (in partnership) in their company.
These regulations aim to protect workers and give them dignity in an environment where the platform has more capital and more power.
Read more about the EU directive here.
Couriers Association will send a letter to Lithuanian MEP’s and president Gitanas Nausėda and ask them not to get mistaken by business lobbyists and instead support the directive, which will benefit all the couriers and riders.