ai companies fail to meet fair work standards for gig workers study
Last updated on November 27th, 2023 at 05:54 am
If passed, companies like Uber and Deliveroo will have to provide more rights and social protections to workers on their platform. Nicolas Schmit, the EU’s commissioner for jobs and social rights, said there is a cost that has to be paid. And European consumers are willing to pay higher prices to better cover the rights of workers.
Schmit said the European Parliament, member states and the European Commission are debating a directive, if passed successfully, will force ride-sharing and delivery companies to offer more social protections to workers.
But doing so will prompt companies like Uber to increase prices for their services by 40 percent. However, the EU commissioner is confident that consumers would accept higher prices if it means better conditions for gig workers.
Workers Rights at Heart
Schmit explained the economy is made up of consumers and producers of services. “Our economy cannot function on the basis of the advantage of the consumer. It has to take into account the interest of the provider of the service. There has to be a balance. There’s a strong market for these kinds of services and people are ready to bear the cost.” He said there is the idea that you can correct the low price by a tip, but that’s not normal. “If there’s a cost it has to be paid.”
Uber warned that if just a law goes ahead and prices rise by 40 percent, the company would be forced to shut down the ride-hailing service in hundreds of cities across the European Union. Schmit said there was no argument that by better protecting the workers, they will kill a model. He believes they will have to adjust the model.
“If Uber or somebody else thinks that they cannot adapt their model to that, then that’s their problem. I would be astonished if this threat is really real.”
EU Wants to Protect Gig Workers
The EU just wants to ensure that delivery drivers and on-demand chauffeurs get better social protections against the power of online platforms they work for. Petra Bolster-Damen, international secretary at FNV (Dutch trade union), pointed out Uber’s ad campaign to assure workers. “The money that is now being spent to prevent granting employee rights to gig workers, it’s money that Uber could have spent on those workers themselves.”
Caspar Nixon, Uber spokesperson, said the company supports a strong and enforceable EU directive that ensures platform workers maintain the independence they want and receive the protections they deserve, such as minimum wage, holiday and sick pay. Uber is working with unions across France, Belgium and the UK to give social protection and guaranteed representation to over 200,000 drivers.