EU Parliament adopts position on platform workers directive
2 Feb 2023
After months of arduous negotiations, the much-debated and politically sensitive platform workers’ file was finally approved in plenary on Thursday (2 February), with 376 in favour and 212 against.
The text enshrines a legal presumption of employment for self-employed platform workers and reinforces workers’ rights and protection in the face of algorithmic management.
Minutes before the vote, centre-left lawmaker Elisabetta Gualmini, who spearheaded the work on the file, warned her peers not to believe the platforms’ narrative that the text “creates a general presumption of employment: it is not true, and it is impossible, both legally and technically”.
She slammed platforms’ lobbying tactics, accusing them of “interfering with [the Parliament’s] democratic processes”. This comes amid allegations that platforms had ramped up their lobbying weeks before the vote.
According to several parliamentary sources EURACTIV talked to, platforms had been reaching out to indecisive EU lawmakers individually to encourage them to vote against the mandate...
The EU Parliament’s approval gives Gualmini the necessary mandate to enter interinstitutional negotiations, known as trilogues, alongside the European Commission and Council.
MEPs in the leading EMPL committee adopted their position on 12 December – after months of arduous negotiations, which Gualmini had described as “extremely delicate and sensitive”.
Instead of a set of criteria that could motivate a legal presumption of employment, as established in the Commission’s proposal, the rapporteur shifted the focus to the actual contractual relationship between the platform and the worker.
As such, the criteria are no longer in the text guiding the presumption, instead now informing platforms’ rebuttal proceedings, when they think a worker is in fact ‘genuinely’ self-employed.
The complete removal of the criteria was harshly criticised by platforms like Uber and Deliveroo, which argued it would bring legal uncertainty and trigger mass reclassification of workers, leading to job losses.
A less political but still very significant part of the proposal regards the use of algorithms in the workplace. On this part, lawmakers included stronger transparency and information requirements regarding how these automated tools are used, and how they affect the employment relationship...
Negotiations continue at the EU Council of Ministers, where no general approach has yet to be found.