EU reforms: A step forward for trade union rights in new forms of work

The ITUC welcomes two, new historic EU directives on platform work and corporate sustainability and due diligence. Although they do not fully meet the needs of working people, they are a step in the right direction.

The directive on platform work introduces a presumption of employment at the national level to address the widespread abuse of misclassifying workers as ‘bogus self-employed’. This means that platform companies will now bear the responsibility of proving that individuals are not their employees, with a focus on the degree of control and direction exercised over workers.

The Corporate Sustainability and Due Diligence Directive answers calls from the ITUC and millions of working people around the world for businesses to be accountable for their human and labour rights violations through hard law, instead of through voluntary corporate initiatives which have been roundly discredited.

Workers remain vigilant

ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle said: “These directives, importantly, acknowledge the critical role of trade unions as organisations owned and controlled by workers themselves, representing the voice of working people, advancing their interests and defending their rights.

“Congratulations to our ETUC colleagues for their leadership on this matter within the EU. The new directives that hold businesses to account, fit our call for a New Social Contract with global respect for the rights of all workers, regardless of the worker’s status. They validate the position of trade unions held over many years that platform workers and workers in supply chains need to be adequately protected from exploitation.

“The directives will have a regional impact and, critically, set a precedent for governments everywhere to stop the abuse faced by workers in these new business models.

“It also means that workers and their unions will remain vigilant to spot new challenges and patterns in the world of work, to ensure that human and labour rights and the environment are respected.”

The developments come a year before the ILO is due to start discussions on a new standard to regulate decent work in the platform economy. The global trade union movement demands a strong, protective international standard, with a key role for trade unions to guarantee the right to decent work for platform workers.