PES EPSCO: strong platform work directive must be delivered this mandate

EPSCO 13 March

Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights (left), Ana Mendes Godinho, Chair and Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Portugal (center) and Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General of the PES at the meeting in Brussels today.

European progressives are ramping-up their push for new EU legislation to improve conditions for workers who deliver services through online platforms like Uber and Deliveroo.

The Directive on improving conditions in platform work – put forward by social democratic European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit – could benefit up to 28 million people in Europe.

Progress on the Directive was the focus as employment and social affairs ministers from the Party of European Socialists (PES) met in Brussels this morning to coordinate ahead of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) later today.

Meeting Chair and Portuguese Minister for Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, said:

“We had to push hard to get this Directive on the agenda. The Council must deliver strong legislation.

“Thanks to concerted efforts from progressives, we have managed to defend against attempts to water these proposals down. We want to bring the Council back closer to the original Commission proposal.

“It is vital that this Directive clarifies the status of workers, guarantees their rights in case of algorithm management and respects collective rights. This is instrumental to protecting workers’ rights and fair working conditions in Europe.”

Attempts to dilute the protection the Directive would offer to platform workers prevented the Council from adopting its General Approach and entering negotiations with the Parliament.

Progressives in the European Parliament’s EMPL Committee have also since secured an ambitious report on the file. Now, the PES family wants to see negotiations conclude with an effective Directive that improves conditions for platform workers.

The meeting also held an exchange on the progress achieved under the Social Action Plan and on the Porto Social Forum 2023 (26t and 27 May) organised with the support of the European Commission, which is an opportunity to renew the spirit of debate and convergence of the Porto Social Summit and to introduce into the debate new concerns and priorities, arising from significant economic, social and political changes.

PES EPSCO ministers are committed to fully achieving the ambitious targets set out in the plan. The EU still has much work to do to combat poverty, ensure that everyone has access to quality affordable housing, give workers the opportunity to gain new skills for a changing labour market, and secure proper rights for platform workers.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Ana Mendes Godinho, Chair and Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Portugal
  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Frank Vandenbroucke, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Belgium
  • Karine Lalieux, Minister of Pensions and Social Integration, in charge of Persons with Disabilities, Combating Poverty and Disabled Persons, Belgium
  • Rolf Schmachtenberg, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany
  • Georges Engel, Minister for Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, Luxembourg
  • Michael Falzon, Minister for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights, Malta
  • Marius Budai, Minister for Labour and Social Solidarity Protection, Romania
  • Agnes Jongerius, EMPL Coordinator, Member of the European Parliament, S&D Group
  • Esther Lynch, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, Party of European Socialists