PES EPSCO ministers to keep pushing for strong platform work directive

PES EPSCO ministers to keep pushing for strong platform work directive

Another five years of uncertainty – that is what Europe’s 28 million platform workers could face if conservative and liberal member states continue to block the platform work directive under this mandate.

PES Employment and Social Affairs (EPSCO) ministers met online ahead of the informal EPSCO Council in Namur the first held under the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU – and called for quick progress on addressing the regulatory grey zone that platform workers currently face.

In November, PES EPSCO ministers urged the Council to find an agreement on the Platform Work Directive. A provisional deal secured by the Spanish Presidency failed in December – a deeply frustrating outcome that leaves gig-workers vulnerable to exploitation.

Chair of PES EPSCO Ministers network and Portuguese Minister for Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, said:

“The time to deliver for platform workers is running short. It is deeply disappointing that conservatives and liberals blocked progress on this file last month. For platform workers, the Belgian presidency is now their final hope for this mandate.

“Regardless of how citizens work, they deserve strong rights and protections. We will continue fighting for platform workers, just like we fight for all workers. We will continue to build coalitions in the Council to deliver a strong platform work directive.”

European socialists and democrats have been fighting hard to improve the working conditions of platform workers, such as drivers for platforms like Uber and Deliveroo. European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit presented an ambitious platform work directive back in 2021, which was progressed in the European Parliament thanks to the efforts of S&D rapporteur Elisabetta Gualmini, despite strong opposition from part of the EPP, of Renew, and ECR. Then Spain’s progressive Presidency managed to find a provisional agreement, but this was ultimately blocked last month.

At the meeting today, PES ESPCO ministers also seized the opportunity to coordinate on other progressive priorities for the Social Europe agenda. Ministers called for progress on the Social Convergence Framework and exchanged on Belgian proposals for promoting the use of distributional impact assessments.

Participants list

  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Pierre Yves Dermagne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Labour, Belgium
  • Karine Lalieux, Minister of Pensions, Social Integration, Fighting Poverty and Disabled Persons, Belgium
  • Rolf Schmachtenberg, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany
  • Simona Bucura-Oprescu, Minister for Labour and Social Solidarity Protection, Romania
  • Agnes Jongerius, EMPL Coordinator, Member of the European Parliament, S&D
  • Esther Lynch, General Secretary, ETUC
  • Yonnec Polet, PES Deputy Secretary General