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Platform workers gather in Brussels to demand better rights from employers

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By Euronews
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Platform workers gather in Brussels to demand better rights from employers
Copyright  Manu Fernandez/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

European platform workers are demanding better labour rights, denouncing a business model that "doesn't guarantee basic entitlements" like paid holiday or sick leave.

Riders and drivers from companies like Uber and Deliveroo joined a symbolic demonstration on Wednesday in front of the European Commission.

Driss Liazidi de la Fuente, a rider for Takeaway, told Euronews that the gig workers only want what every other worker is allowed.

"We would like to have social security worthy of its name. To be protected when we ride, so if we have an accident and to be simply covered like everyone else," de la Fuente said.

"And in addition to that, we would like to be correctly paid, not necessarily all the time per delivery. I am paid by the hour at Takeaway, but others are paid per delivery. Sometimes they receive just €5 per delivery for doing 2, 3, or 4 kilometres and that's just not sustainable."

Trade unions want to put an end to "fake self-employment".

Some countries have already issued legislation, like in Spain where companies are obliged to regularise their workers.

And there have also been rulings in favour of workers in France, Italy and the Netherlands.

Now, unions want the European Commission to legislate and they have made it clear that they strongly oppose the creation of a third category between worker and self-employed.

"We are completely against the in-between option because we do not need a new status," Ludovic Voet, Confederal Secretary at the European Trade Union Confederation told Euronews. "There are two statuses: the employee and the self-employed. And we have to ask the platform companies to prove the situation.

"We do not position ourselves on whether people are self-employers or employees, the question is if their actual conditions of work are if they are subordinate, then they have to be employees and they have to have the rights of what all employees have. If they are really autonomous, then they can be self-employed, but it can not be in between," he added.

According to the European Commission, there are around 24 million platform workers in the EU.

Brussels has started consulting labour unions and employers of platform workers, in a bid to legislate and improve their working conditions. A proposal is expected by the end of the year.