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Uber Promises European Union Gig Workers Better Rights

Published on Feb 15, 2021 at 12:42 pm in News.

The European Union is looking to improve working conditions for gig economy workers. While the European Commission has not yet published ideas to achieve social protections, recommendations are expected to come later this month. If the process remains on track, legislative proposals could be submitted by the end of the year.

According to Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, regulators are considering exemptions to competition rules for organized labor. This would allow platform workers to talk about wages without disobeying the rules.

Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi corresponded via email with Bloomberg and released the following statement: “The current legal ambiguity on the status of independent workers makes it difficult for platforms like Uber to provide both access to flexible work and to social protections.” He said he is “ready to do more and go much further” to improve rights for gig economy workers.

As the EU continues to look for ways to improve protections for gig economy workers, some workers in California continue to challenge Proposition 22. The ballot measure, which was heavily supported by Uber, Lyft, and other similar platforms, designates app-based drivers as contractors under state law. While they do not have protections like sick pay and workers’ compensation, they are entitled to some alternative benefits.

Khosrowshahi believes elements of Proposition 22 could be applied in Europe. Those principles include the guarantee that independent workers can access benefits and protection without the need for litigation. In addition to that, a white paper published by Uber and sent to the European Commission suggested establishing a portable benefits fund. Doing so would let Uber workers accrue funds from different companies to access the protections and benefits they want.

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