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After the Euro Parl vote, what happens now with the Platform Work Directive?

On Thursday [2 February], the European Parliament (EP) voted for a text which would significantly strengthen the Platform Work Directive. You can read our full report here

We also carry an interview with Leïla Chaibi MEP, one of those who has led the campaign in the Parliament for stronger platform workers' rights. Chaibi spoke to Piero Valmassoi at the Maison Des Livreurs ('House of Couriers') in Brussels shortly after the vote.

One of the issues that Chaibi and Valmassoi discuss is what happens now that the EP has its mandate. The Council of the EU (the member-states) has to come to its position, before the 'trilogue' interinstitutional negotiations take place to come to a commonly agreed text for the Directive. On the Council of the EU's position, Chaibi is fairly pessimistic.

"We already know that their text is going to be less ambitious than the Parliament’s report, and even of the Commission’s proposal...An agreement should be reached in March: we don’t expect it to be great", she says.

The one chink of light is that in six months time the right-wing Swedish Presidency of the Council will end and be replaced by Spain, the country which introduced the 'Riders Law', the first presumption of employment for food delivery couriers in Europe. Chaibi says their "strategy is to stall negotiations until the Spanish Presidency takes office in July."

But even if stalling works, a Spanish Presidency would not change the arithmetic in the Council, where "there is a block of states that are really against the Directive, such as Sweden, the Baltic countries, and France," Chaibi explains. The Czech Presidency's proposal in December showed that there is only a 'blocking minority' of nine states that were willing to resist a text which would have made the Directive toothless. Even then, two out of those nine states (Germany and Romania) abstained in the vote.

Of course, workers can and will seek to apply pressure on to their respective member-states to shift position. After the EP vote, Copenhagen rider and Gig Economy Project contributor Rasmus Hjorth said that "we have Swedish comrades and a strong Swedish labour movement that will do everything in its power to prevent [the Swedish Presidency pushing through a right-wing text]."

But one of the challenges the labour movement faces with lobbying the Council of the EU is the opacity of its decision-making processes, another issue Chaibi and Valmassoi touched upon. Chaibi said they want to pressure the Council to publish the minutes of its meetings. 

"Without clarity, there can be no ownership of the process by the citizens," she argues.

The trilogue negotiations are also "informal tripartite meetings", i.e. hidden from view. So from here on in, we will be reliant on those inside the loop for an information flow about what's going on. Workers will have to be creative if they are to effectively impose themselves on a shadowy legislative process.

The European Parliament mandate is undoubtedly a win for platform workers' rights, but there is a long way to go before that translates into something material for Europe's platform workers.

Ben Wray, Gig Economy Project co-ordinator

Gig Economy news round-up

  • BARCELONA BANS 'DARK STORES': Barcelona's City Hall has issued a total ban on 'dark stores', mini-warehouses used for app-based grocery delivery in urban neighbourhoods. The ban has been introduced to "preserve (traditional) neighbourhood stores and residents' quality of life," a spokesperson said. Dark stores have also been banned in Amsterdam and limited in Paris for similar reasons: neighbourhoods complain about riders occupying sidewalks outside the dark stores and noise late into the night. There have also been concerns about whether the shopping lots which are typically used for dark stores are appropriate in terms of the health & safety of the 'pickers' working inside. The City Hall, led by left-wing mayor Ada Colau, is also regulating "dark kitchens", limiting them to industrial suburban districts. The dark store ban is like to hit Glovo hard, which runs a grocery delivery arm and has eight such stores in Barcelona, as well as Getir, the Turkish grocery delivery platform which has emerged as the dominant player in Europe. Read more here.
  • BRUSSELS RIDER DIES IN ROAD ACCIDENT: A food delivery courier in Brussels has died after hitting a bus at an interjunction near the Gare du Nord train station. The accident took place on Thursday [2 February] at around 4.30pm, with firefighters having to lift the back of the bus to extract the rider from underneath the vehicle. He was immediately treated by a medical team at the scene but died of his injuries overnight in hospital. The Brussels public prosecutor's office has opened an investigation to determine the circumstances of the accident. The Brussels Couriers Collective tweeted that they wanted "to show their sadness" and that their "thoughts go out to his family". Read more here.
  • UBER REFUSE EXTENSION REQUEST OVER GENEVA DRIVERS COMPENSATION DECISION: Uber refused to budge on its 31 January deadline for drivers in the Swiss city of Geneva to decide whether to accept the platform's compensation offer or take it to an Industrial Tribunal. The unions' lawyer representing the drivers, Me Francesco La Spada, had requested the extension due to concerns about the data Uber provided to drivers in order to justify their compensation offer. An analysis by Swiss data specialists at and has found major discrepancies in the data and have arrived at an independent analysis of the drivers' mileage which in many cases is significantly different from Uber's, to the extent that the difference could be worth tens or hundreds of thousands of  Swiss Francs for some drivers. The unions have denounced the situation to the commerce police. Uber said hundreds of drivers had already accepted their compensation offer and that they would be willing to discuss data issues with drivers. A Geneva court found last year that the drivers were employees and entitled to back-dated pay and expenses. The Gig Economy Project understands that at least 15 drivers had not accepted Uber's compensation offer by the 31 January deadline and will be taking it to court. Read more here.
  • ADCU TO PROTEST UBER'S INTRODUCTION OF 'DYNAMIC PRICING' IN LONDON: The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) has called on London mayor Sadiq Khan to ban Uber's use of "predatory pay and pricing algorithms" in the UK capital. Uber introduced 'dynamic pricing' to London, one of its biggest markets, this week. Dynamic pricing is highly variable prices based on management decisions which are not transparent to the driver. Uber uses personal and algorithmic data on the individual driver to seek to determine what price they would be willing to pay. There is also "tacit collusion" between competing platforms' algorithms in the private hire sector - where they respond to each others' pricing movements in real-time - to keep prices down, the union said. The ADCU say that Uber is obliged to clear all business model changes with the regulator, Transport for London. The union will hold a protest on Tuesday to demand TfL takes action against dynamic pricing.
  • GLOVO TO SACK 250 OFFICE STAFF: Glovo, Spain's largest food delivery platform, is sacking 250 office workers, 6.5% of its workforce, in a move which its CEO Óscar Pierre has justified on the basis of a "slowdown" in growth. Most of the job losses will be at the company's Barcelona headquarters, where 140 staff will lose their positions. Pierre said the axe would fall on "areas such as business support, recruitment and data functions", but no "front-line" staff will be affected. The CEO expects that the company will bounce back in 2023, with "strong double-digit growth" expected. Glovo is owned by German multi-national Delivery Hero and refuses to employ its food delivery couriers despite over €200 million in fines for fake self-employment and the passing of the 'Riders Law' in 2021. The Glovo leadership received a €115 million bonus in 2021, despite registering losses of more than €400 million. Read more here.

On GEP this week

Defeat for the platform lobby: European Parliament backs stronger platform work directive

European Parliament now must negotiate its mandate with the Council of the EU, which has yet to agree its position.
"We managed to reverse the balance of power": Interview with Leïla Chaibi MEP

Piero Valmassoi, speaks to Leïla Chaibi MEP about the lobbying efforts of the big platforms, the substance of the European Parliament’s mandate, and what happens now.
From around the web
"Mercedes in two years?": Grab workers mounting discontent and wildcat strikes in Vietnam

Toan Le writes for Asian Labour Review on food delivery exploitation and resistance in Vietnam.
​Report: Back to what truly matters - Platforms, AI, and youth in the workplace​

Jovana Karanovic and Jelena Sapic's edited report based on the Reshaping Work Dialogue last year. 
Delivery apps are offering loans to workers. Experts allege they're debt traps

Daniela Dib writes in 'Rest of World' on Didi in Mexico's high-interest loans to food delivery couriers.

Upcoming events

- Bolt drivers in Tbilisi, Georgia, will protest unfair working conditions on 5 February, 2pm, gathering at the Tbilisi State University (maglivi korpusi) library. For more details click here

- ADCU will protest against Uber's introduction of dynamic pricing in London, on February 7 at 11am at Transport for London's Palestra House, London.

- The European Trade Union Institute is hosting an event on the 'Future of work: working with and through digital technology' on the 14 February. Click here for full details and to register. 

- 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. 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.

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