The Left in the European Parliament welcomes the Commission’s proposal to regulate employment in the so-called gig economy as a victory for workers’ rights over corporate greed.

The much-awaited legislation will provide certainty to millions of workers who earn a living through digital platforms but have been denied basic rights and social protection because of their automatic classification as “self-employed”.

The new proposal reverses this dynamic, with digital corporations such as Uber and Deliveroo having to prove that they do not “control the performance of work” of service providers under a defined set of criteria, which include the ability to choose their own schedule and set their own prices.

An estimated 4.1 million workers could be reclassified as employees under the proposal, forcing gig economy companies to grant rights and protections for workers such as minimum wages, sick pay and holiday leave.

“This is a great political victory, and above all a major social advance for platform workers who have been affected for years by great economic insecurity, even though they are the ones who work and take all the risks. It is the culmination of two years of work inside and outside the European Parliament,” said MEP Leila Chaibi (France Insoumise, France).

The Commission’s comprehensive proposal includes other important advances such as transparency over allocation of tasks, avenues for workers to challenge algorithmic decisions, an obligation on platforms to report data to national authorities, and the promotion of collective bargaining.

The Left has fought alongside platform workers and trade unions against heavy lobbying by digital platforms that wanted to weaken the legislation. The fight is not over yet with the proposal now moving to the European Parliament and Council – where big business has solid allies on the right and in the French Presidency – for agreement on the final text.

For Chaibi, the fact that workers’ rights prevailed in the proposal deals a severe blow to the precarious and exploitative work model promoted by gig economy companies:

“The message sent by the European Commission is loud and clear: Uber, Deliveroo and Volt must stop hiding behind the fraudulent use of self-employed status and must assume their obligations as employers, as they exert subordination over the people who work for them,” Chaibi concluded.

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