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Letter: Brussels plan for workers in the gig economy must go further

At the end of this month, the European Commission will vote on its proposed platform work directive. As the leading online delivery marketplace in Europe, we welcome the legislation.

But it needs to go much further (“Uber, Lyft and DoorDash hit by gig work plan”, Report, October 12). With consumer demand for delivery growing rapidly, we should expect the number of couriers to rise sharply in the coming years.

Many companies across the EU continue to prioritise cost savings and efficiency over giving riders the employment rights their customers usually enjoy. A

s a result, our sector is not competing on the same playing field, with some shouldering more employee and societal costs than others. If EU-wide regulation is not enforced across all jurisdictions now, companies with bogus self-employment models will continue to benefit at the expense of both couriers, who face increasingly precarious conditions, and society. My belief is that the platform work directive will only be successful when all digital labour platforms are required to abide by the same rules and regulations.

For that to become reality, we need to see three things. First, there must be no derogation in member states. EU-level legislation must protect workers’ rights irrespective of local labour market regulation. Second, it needs strong enforcement. The directive must contain measures that allow operators who do not comply to be effectively sanctioned. Third, there should be a low threshold to activate legal presumption.

The directive proposes several criteria to determine whether a platform is an “employer”. In our view, this threshold needs to be lowered. If the platform determines the level or range of remuneration, closely supervises performance or verifies the quality of work, the person performing the work should not qualify as self-employed. At Just Eat, we have demonstrated a model that can and does work.

That is why we have chosen to employ tens of thousands of couriers. To replicate this, the EU must eradicate unacceptable self-employment constructions through swift reclassification and strong enforcement across all member states.

In doing so, we will create a more equitable playing field for companies operating in the market and, more importantly, give workers the rights that they deserve.

Source : FinancialTimes