Gig economy news & analysis
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
Website | Twitter | | Subscribe

Two big updates: Platform Work Directive and Gorillas sale

There have been two big developments in the gig economy over the past week to update you on (sorry for the late newsletter, technical issues). First, the Employment Committee of the European Parliament has voted in favour of the the text of the Parliament's rapporteur, Elisabetta Gualmini. The vote, which saw 41 in favour and 12 against, was celebrated by MEP Leïla Chaibi, who leads the work of the Left in the European Parliament on platform work, who said the text was "even more ambitious than the European Commission's proposal" last December.

A key change to the Commission's draft proposal is that the criteria for triggering the presumption of employment are removed, and instead there is criteria for proving that a worker is independent when the platform challenges the presumption of employment in court. This formulation has been heavily resisted by the platform lobby as the criteria may have given them a way to avoid employment obligations.

There have also been significant changes to the algorithmic management part of the text with more transparency and information requests on how automated tools are used. Gualmini said in an interview last week that she believed the algorithmic management part of the Directive was the most important. Nonetheless, there has been compromises to Gualmini's original text to reach agreement with the centre-right at the Employment Committee, with the Social Democrat rapporteur saying that “everyone gave up something and got something” in those negotiations.

Meanwhile, the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU, which represents the member-states in the EU, failed to push through an agreement on the platform work directive despite two last ditch attempts on Thursday [8 December]. The Czechs had sought to water down the initial EU Commission proposal to the extent that, according to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), it would have been worse than not passing a Directive at all. The final vote had Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain against, and Germany and Romania abstained. This was a sufficient "blocking minority" to defeat the Czech proposal.

So what happens now? At the EU Parliament, the Employment Committee's text needs to be backed by a majority of MEPs in January. It'd possible that if the rebels in the centre-right European People's Party have enough support that it could still be amended at that stage, but we have been told that it is more likely due to the overwhelming majority at the Employment Committee that it will pass without amendment. A press release from the European Parliament state the text (which is to be published in full in coming days) "will constitute a negotiating mandate for the upcoming talks with EU governments".

As for the Council of the EU, the next Presidency, Sweden, begins in January and they will now take on the task of trying to find an agreement. Since the Swedish are bullish about no platform work directive interfering with 'the Swedish model' of industrial relations, and backed the Czech proposal, we can be pretty sure that there will be another attempt to get through a weakened Directive, with Gualmini stating in the same interview that she thinks the Swedes might even attempt a weaker directive than the Czechs. So there is still a long way to go for the Platform Work Directive.

The other big development was that Gorillas was finally sold to Getir on Friday [9 November]. The Turkish-headquartered firm is thought to have paid $1.2 billion (about €1.1 billion). The combined asset is now valued at $10 billion, which - considering Getir without Gorillas was valued at $11.8 billion in March - means Getir's valuation has been cut by about a quarter. Considering Gorillas rapid downfall (the German-founded company was valued €3 billion last September) that might not seem too bad for Getir, but it nonetheless shows that this is an industry which is struggling to cope in the present economic climate.

What's the future for Gorillas in Getir? 'Sifted' report that it's likely Getir have done the deal because they want the 'dark stores', the small neighbourhood warehouses which are getting increasingly difficult to come by as governments across Europe crackdown on them. The FT reports that job cuts are likely "because of considerable overlap between the two companies". 

The end of Gorillas brings to a conclusion ex-CEO Kağan Sümer's chaotic management of the firm which brought him into high-profile and spectacular conflict with his workers in Berlin (which GEP has reported on extensively, including here, here and here). While these workers may be under new management, the organisational strength they have developed will not disappear. As the Gorillas Workers Collective tweeted following the news of the Getir takeover came through: "So begins the next chapter."

Ben Wray, Gig Economy Project co-ordinator

It is in your hands

BRAVE NEW EUROPE has financially supported and hosted the Gig Economy Project wholeheartedly. Now both are in danger of having to close down. This will be decided by those of you who can afford to financially support us. In such a situation even small donations are important. It is in your hands.

Gig Economy news round-up

  • DELIVEROO FRANCE COULD FACE FINE OF ‘SEVERAL HUNDRED MILLION EUROS’: Deliveroo is facing a potentially very damaging financial hit in France, as two investigations by the judiciary and social security are to dwarf the fines paid for ‘concealed work’ by the British-headquartered company previously. ‘Mediapart’ report that whereas Deliveroo were sentenced in September to pay €9.7 million in social security contributions to Urssaf for 2,000 fake self-employed jobs between 2015 and 2016, the new investigation relates to the period from 2018 to mid-2021 and around 60,000 jobs allegedly concealed to the tax authorities. The fines could potentially total “several hundred million euros” and, according to Mediapart, Deliveroo has already asked the Paris Commercial Court for a special procedure “to help it negotiate”. The company has vociferously defended the independent contractor model for its freelancers, but Mediapart finds that this may cost them dearly in France, with the prospective fines thought to be potentially “fatal” to its prospects. Read more here
  • SCOTTISH RIDERS COULD FACE CRIPPLING FEES FROM DEPOSIT RETURN SCHEME: The Scottish Government’s new Deposit Return Scheme, aimed at reducing waste and set to be rolled out next August, could lead to food delivery couriers which are registered as self-employed having to pay hundreds of pounds in fees to be a “waste carrier” and potential fines if they do not comply. Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater confirmed in Parliament that as it currently stands “self-employed individuals” who carry single-use containers would have to register, although The Herald reports that that there are talks underway between the Scottish Government and Deliveroo, the UK’s largest food delivery platform, about this. GMB Scotland Organiser Paul McLaughlin said that there is a “real risk that already precarious workers will be left destitute by the costs and fines associated with the Scottish Government’s deposit return scheme.” Mclaughlin added that many riders do not speak much English, and therefore are unlikely to be aware of their responsibilities under the scheme, which could open them up to fines. Read more here.
  • GROCERY DELIVERY COURIERS DEMAND BETTER WORKING CONDITIONS IN AMSTERDAM: Over 200 Amsterdam riders working for Grocery Delivery Platforms Flink, Getir and Gorillas signed a petition demanding improvements to their working conditions, and the petitions were presented by a group of 25 riders to each of the companies’ offices in the Dutch capital on Wednesday [7 December). During the handover, the riders held a big banner, coloured torches were lit and they sang a self-written song. The petition was organised by the youth section of the FNV union, and calls for better wages, including premiums during peak hours, a work schedule at least a week before the work commences, and “healthy and safe working conditions. Read more here
  • MILAN COURT RULES GLOVO MUST EMPLOY A RIDER: A Labour Court in Milan has found Spanish food delivery platform Glovo must re-instate a rider who was deactivated from the app and hire him with an employment contract on the basis of the national collective bargaining agreement (around €1,400 a month), reimburse his missed salary over the past year and pay the cost of the court proceedings. The ruling was based on a Supreme Court verdict in 2020 which found that a business which organises the times and places of work is in a position of domination and thus the workers are entitled to the same rights and conditions as all subordinate workers. The Deliverance Collective Milan, which supported the rider in the legal case, said that it was “an important victory that sanctions an objective and material advance in the working conditions of the rider, who thanks to this verdict, gets out of the blackmail of the piecework, gets back the job and the equivalent of the unworked year. For this reason, we invite everyone to challenge layoffs and irregular contracts (such as those in delivery) by claiming what is rightfully due, also organising themselves through trade unions, as well as through legal channels." Glovo responded by saying that they will "evaluate all the tools at its disposal to reaffirm the legitimacy of its operating model". Read more here.
  • SPANISH GOVT TO AMEND PENAL CODE SO THAT FALSE SELF-EMPLOYMENT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE: The Spanish Government is preparing to amend its Penal Code to tackle the problem of food delivery companies flagrantly ignoring the law. Currently, food delivery companies which hire their workers on a false-self employed basis are only guilty of administrative crimes, but this could change so that these are deemed criminal offenses, meaning company executives would have to bear direct responsibility, which could include jail sentences. In April, the Paris Criminal Court sentenced three Deliveroo former executives to suspended prison sentences and fines for "concealed work", leading to campaigners like RidersXDerechos to argue that the Spanish courts and government should take the same approach. Despite the passing of the Rider Law in August last year and defeat in well over 50 court cases, Glovo continues to refuse to employ its riders. Uber Eats, Glovo's main rival in Spain, was employing its riders via sub-contractors until it announced in August this year that it was going back to a self-employed model because it could not compete with Glovo using an employment model. Read more here
James Farrar, Sergi Cutillas – Workers’ Recommendations on the Draft EU Platform Work Directive

A new report by Worker Info Exchange and the Observatorio de Trabajo, Algoritmo y Sociedad calls on MEPs to fast-track approval of the proposed EU Platform Work Directive in upcoming vote and for additional curbs on algorithmic abuses in the gig economy
From around the web
Unpacking self-employment 'flexibility'

Robert Donoghue writes in 'Social Europe' on his research on 'flexibility' in the gig economy, finding that in practise there are key constraints to working flexibly.
Job quality gaps between migrant and native gig workers: evidence from Poland

Paweł Kaczmarczyk, Zuzanna Kowalik and Piotr Lewandowski examine working conditions and job quality in the private hire and food delivery sectors, finding migrants job quality is noticeably lower. 
Uber drivers are working 17-hour shifts in Qatar after having pay cut by 20% during World Cup

Report in Inews finds workers were duped by Uber to spend lots of money in coming to Qatar to work the football World Cup, only for the company to cut prices and leave them out of pocket.

Upcoming events

-The Platform Labor Project and the Global Digital Cultures Initiative are holding a hybrid international conference on 'Global Perspectives on platforms, labour and social re-production', at the University of Amsterdam, 27-28 June 2023. Details here

Know of upcoming events we should be highlighting? Let us know at

Get Involved

The Gig Economy Project is a media network for gig workers and we welcome contributions from workers, writers, academics, activists - anyone who wants to stand up for workers' rights in the gig economy.

If you would like to write for the site, discuss arranging an interview with GEP, or simply have information about developments in the gig economy in Europe you think we should be aware of, get in touch. 

Contact project co-ordinator Ben Wray at or send a direct message to the Twitter: @project_gig.

And if you like the Gig Economy Project weekly newsletter, why not get your friends and colleagues to subscribe to?
Here's the link.
You received this email because you subscribed to our list. You can unsubscribe at any time.

BRAVE NEW EUROPE (Unincorporated Not-For-Profit Association)
68 Boileau Road
SW13 9BP
United Kingdom
Powered by EmailOctopus