Major gig economy players launch new effort to shape EU regulations

9 Jun 2021311 Views

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The founders of four companies have established the European Purpose Project to advocate for new laws around the gig economy.

Four of Europe’s major gig economy and delivery companies have established a new group to lobby for worker rules in Europe.

The founders and CEOs of Glovo, Delivery Hero, Wolt and Bolt have created the European Purpose Project to “work together for better regulation of platform companies” in Europe and present recommendations to governments.

The matter is a hot topic at an EU level as the European Commission considers new regulations for gig workers. Meanwhile, major regulatory changes in countries like Spain have upended the employment model used by companies including Glovo.

All four of the companies involved operate food and grocery delivery services, while Bolt’s services extend to ride-hailing and micromobility rentals.

The group is seeking input from the public and will publish a code of conduct and playbook on best corporate and regulatory practices for the gig economy, or the ‘platform economy’ as the companies put it. These documents are due to be completed by September.

There is increasing attention on the regulatory frameworks around gig workers and how they should be classified – whether as contractors, employees or workers – and what benefits they should be entitled to.

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Last month, an Oxford study in the UK ranked several on-demand delivery companies based on working conditions for their delivery drivers and riders. Bolt, the only company from the European Purpose Project that is active in the UK, was ranked at the bottom.

Companies have pushed back against various regulations that would require gig workers to be classified as full employees and many, including Uber, have advocated for a middle ground where riders and drivers can get benefits like holiday and sick pay but are not full employees.

The European Purpose Project acknowledges that changes to regulations are coming down the line but wants to shape those rules.

“At Glovo, we have always strived for a fairer gig economy. We have taken the initiative with the European Purpose Project because it allows us to design a better system for all,” Glovo co-founder Sacha Michaud said.

“Together, we want to establish better governance of working conditions, labour practices and social rights for all workers, regardless of their employment status. We need regulation that recognises the unique output and benefits of the digital economy for all, and we invite other companies to join us and be a part of this important conversation.”

Niklas Östberg, chief executive of Delivery Hero, said the organisation is inviting other European tech companies to “join the conversation and help shape the future of platform regulation together”.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

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