A left-wing French MP Danielle Simonnet wants to examine “the reality of generalised self-employment in the platform economy”, which she claims brings “instability to the taxi market, undermines workers’ rights to social protection and impoverishes the State”.
She said that ‘bogus self-employment’ must be done away with and called for general reclassification of workers.
“Self-employment is a race to the bottom,” Ludovic Rioux, delivery workers’ representative for the CGT union, told EURACTIV. He accused the government and platforms of working hand in hand to “generalise” self-employment – to the detriment of workers. It’s about ending ‘social dumping’, drivers’ representative Yassine Bensaci added, so platforms can go ahead with full-fledged employment without facing unfair competition.
The general demand from politicians and trade unions for status reclassification is in line with the majority of French legal precedence that found platform workers to be employed, as was held in March 2020 by the Cour de Cassation (France’s top court) ruling.
On the other hand, Uber has warned against mass reclassification, which it claims could lead to job losses – up to 250,000 across the EU, an industry-sponsored report contends.
The status of platform workers, and other solo self-employed workers such as IT contractors, will be at the centre of discussions between the EU Commission, EU Council and the Parliament later this year as they seek consensus on the proposed Employment Status of Platform Workers Directive. The Parliament leans heavily in favour of a presumption of an employment relationship unless platforms can prove otherwise. The Council is more hesitant, believing that a presumption of employment could put jobs at risk, especially as platform work is seen as a pathway into employment for many from minority communities and recently arrived immigrants.