Platform WorkMember states torpedo workers‘ rights

The planned Directive on Platform Work was supposed to be done, but now there are new problems: EU member states did not agree with the trilogue compromise, endangering the whole project.

A red traffic light, with a blue sky in the background.
No go for workers‘ rights. – Gemeinfrei-ähnlich freigegeben durch almani

The EU member states did not give their agreement to the trilogue compromise for the planned Platform Work Directive. Their negotiators had agreed on a supposedly final version of the planned law with those of the EU Parliament two weeks ago. Both institutions then have to vote on this compromise, which normally is a formality. But in this case, a group of member states wary of the planned rules prevailed.

The Council has now seen heated debate about the Directive for some time. On the one hand, Spain and its current Social Democrat government are calling for a worker-friendly law, while on the other hand countries such as Sweden would prefer not to regulate at all. France, too, would prefer fewer rules.

No vote from Germany

Even before the vote it was clear that any potential majority would be slim. Several people participating in the negotiations told that the vote from France would be decisive – also because Germany would continue to abstain. The liberal party FDP continues to block a Yes by the ruling three-party coalition.

According to Euractiv, the member states did not even formally vote on Friday, because it was already clear beforehand that there would not be a majority. 12 countries, including France and Sweden, had announced their opposition because, according to them, the compromise had diverged too far from the initial Council proposal.

More in the new year

Elisabetta Gualmini, Social Democrat chief negotiator for the Parliament, condemned the Council’s position: „I am deeply disappointed that no agreement could be made today and shocked that a handful of EU member states signalled their intention to vote against this historic, balanced, and far-reaching law to better protect platform workers“, she said on Friday. According to her, the future of the European social model is at stake.

The French MEP Leïla Chaibi took part in the negotiations for the Left faction. She called French president Emmanuel Macron the law’s „gravedigger“ on Friday. „Emmanuel Macron and his government collaborated with reactionaries from all over Europe to torpedo a text that represented progress for all workers on European platforms“, she said.

Ludovic Voet, secretary for the European Trade Union Confederation, reacted negatively as well. „A balanced agreement giving the most basic rights to platform workers is being held up for no good reason based on the objections of a small minority“, he said. The Uber Files made clear that the opponents of the planned Directive had many contacts to platform lobbyists, he said and announced he would work with the majority of member states supporting the compromise for an agreement in the coming year.

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