July 17, 2023
Government throws platform workers under the bus with position at EU Council – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said the Irish government threw platform workers under the bus by backing a watered-down position on EU legislation to improve their working conditions.

The Dublin Fingal TD said that as a result, the European Council will now pursue less protections and supports for platform workers, such as delivery riders for companies such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and Just Eat.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The Irish government is quick to boast that it punches above its weight in international affairs, however, recently the government used its position to punch down on workers.

“At a recent meeting of the European Union Employment and Social Affairs Council (EPSCO), the Irish government threw its weight behind a watered-down position on the EU Platform Workers Directive.

“As a result, the European Council will now pursue less protections and supports for platform workers, such as delivery riders for companies such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and Just Eat.

“The purpose of the Platform Workers Directive is to improve working conditions in platform work by determining the employment status of people working through digital labour platforms and new rights for both workers regarding algorithmic management.

“The net result of the decision taken by Ireland, and several other European states, is that the EU Council will no longer push for a position whereby workers are legally presumed to be employed.

“Instead, workers will need to fulfil three of seven criteria in order to be reclassified as employed – meaning there would be no ‘right to employment’.

“The Irish government supported a position to prevent workers from receiving their right to earn at least the minimum wage, sick pay, holiday pay and social security access.

“In doing so the government did the bidding of platform companies run by multimillionaires who have been using loopholes in the law to escape their most basic obligations to their workforce and society.

“It must also be noted that the Minister’s in the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment held six meetings with platform companies on the EU Directive and only two with trade unions.

“Last week it was reported that the European Commission will endeavour to get the final text closer to its initial proposal which offered greater protections for workers; therefore, it is important that the Irish government supports any moves to strengthen the Directive.”

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