EU’s platform workers directive: socialists and democrats initiatives

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Three EU’s legislative institutions reached at the end of 2023 an agreement on the platform workers’ directive aimed to improve the working conditions of more than 28 million gig-workers in the EU member states. However, the final agreement was delayed, which was according to European socialists “a failed opportunity” to show the EU-wide intention to provide for social protection of those in the new forms of work.  

As the EU member states’ economies are in the process of recovering in the post-covid pandemic period, energy and commodity crises, labour shortages are becoming increasingly evident. The problems are further aggravated by the impact of military conflicts in Ukraine, in the Middle East and other places.
These crises, disruption of value-chains and shortages exacerbated by the crises in some national economy sectors and professions have been endemic for some time. Additional analysis and research is needed in the area of labour shortages and its drivers, including new aspects of the projected labour markets shifts due to the current EU-wide green and digital transition.
Specific attention shall be paid to a novice trend in labour force, i.e. platform/gig workers in growing online sectors.

Digital work
Besides, artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly critical role in shaping the future of work and communication across a wide variety of businesses, transport, tourism and services. Modern “metaverse workplace” is a revolutionary factor in the employment and “a philosophical exploration of what work can and should be”; according to researchers, the holistic vision of the future workplace is fundamentally altering.
The “metaverse workplace” is regarded as one of the biggest evolutions in economic history; it acts as the primary place of business for all those organization where employees are regarded as working “digital avatars”.
It seems that most of the world states are on the way to “transit” to a new phase in employment, i.e. a metaverse where business leaders would embrace the new occupation possibilities and be equipped to wield an unassailable competitive advantage.

More in: Gesing J. The Metaverse Workplace Revolution: A Path to Greater Profitability, a Stronger Culture, and Industry Disruption. – Fast Company Press Publ. 2024. – 224 pp. ISBN:1639080805; ISBN13:9781639080809. In: .

Working from home trends and increased opportunities has been another unexpected problem; for example, as soon as about 36 percent of Belgian employees worked from home in 2022, up significantly from before the pandemic, according to a new report by the Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis, the researchers suggest a spike in home-working. The latter will definitely exert additional pressure on the housing market, as more businesses are moving out of office districts to residential areas.

PES in action
EU’s party of socialists and democrats, PES sees the delay as “another five years of uncertainty”, when the European 28 million platform workers could face if conservative and liberal EU member states continue to block the platform work directive. PES Employment and Social Affairs (EPSCO) ministers in January 2024 called for quick progress on addressing the regulatory grey zone that platform workers currently face.
In November 2023, the party’s EPSCO ministers urged the Council to find an agreement on the Platform Work Directive; a provisional deal failed in December with a “deeply frustrating outcome that leaves gig-workers vulnerable to exploitation”.
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European socialists and democrats have been fighting hard to improve the working conditions of platform workers, such as drivers for platforms like Uber, Deliveroo/Delivery, etc. European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit (and PES member) presented an ambitious platform work directive back in 2021, which was progressed in the European Parliament thanks to the efforts of S&D reporter Elisabetta Gualmini, despite strong opposition from part of the EPP, Renew and ECR. The then Spain’s progressive Council’s Presidency at the end of 2023 managed to find a provisional agreement, but this was ultimately blocked later in the year.
In January 2024, PES ESPCO ministers seized the opportunity to coordinate the member states actions on other progressive priorities for the Social Europe agenda; e.g. ministers called for progress on the Social Convergence Framework and exchanged views on proposals for promoting the use of distributional impact assessments.


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