24 February 2021, Brussels
To: President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen
Cc: Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager;
European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit
Dear President, Dr. von der Leyen,
Dear Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager,
Dear Commissioner Schmit,
The social partner consultation is at the heart of the EU processes ensuring that the decisions taken are informed and at the appropriate level respecting the principle of subsidiarity. As the Commission kicks off a social partner consultation on the working conditions of platform workers, we urge you to ensure as representative a process as possible.
In platform work, the nature of the sector means that a consultation of traditional social partners may fall short of the mark. Platform work is diverse with different business and operation models. For instance, given that some of the workers are self employed, they work to their own timetable and freely provide their services via multiple platforms, or to an entirely different full – or part-time job. Additionally, there are SMEs that use platforms to offer the services of their business. Similarly, platforms, as they are not employers they do not partake in employers federations and associations.
The diversity within the makeup of platform work means that it would be difficult for their views to be truly represented by a narrowly-defined group of social partners. As a result, looking at these issues solely through the prism of employees/employers organizations risks a failure to account for these platforms and those who work on them.
Platform work is a complex nuanced issue with any interventions needing to be considered thoroughly. The impact of any ill informed decision to the ecosystem and economic actors around platforms would be significant. The European Commission should incentivize a tailored approach, avoiding copying and pasting templates from “standard” employment. As such, the Commission should also consider measures to address the lack/absence of representative stakeholders.
It is important that a conversation about platform workers takes place with the inclusion and meaningful involvement of additional representative parties.
With this in mind, we not only welcome the Commission’s consultation but also put ourselves at your full disposal to ensure this initiative lives up to expectations and forms a solid basis for future discussions in Europe.
For this reason we urge the Commission to increase representation in the upcoming social partner consultation on the working conditions of platform workers, by including more organizations, especially the ones representing independent workers, SMEs and platforms as part of the social partner consultation.
We hope that a truly inclusive discussion will form the basis for sound decision-making, and that any resultant legislation responds to the needs of workers, SMEs and platforms for better flexible opportunities in a sustainable ecosystem.